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Research Experience Placements

This year’s internships are partially delivered through the University’s role in the Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education. This aims to address under-representation in postgraduate research study with a focus on UK Black, Asian and minority ethnic students and, as such, three projects are ringfenced for UK Black, Asian and minority ethnic students.


About the placement

Each student researcher will work with a supervisor and possibly a wider research team. Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence (LITE) will provide support and guidance in pedagogic research and act as a community for the successful student researchers on the programme.

Starting after teaching, exams and assessments are over, projects will be delivered over a minimum of 6 weeks, but the 210 hours could be carried out part-time. The salary for the role is £20,948 per annum, pro rata (Grade 3, £11.51/hr).

Explore previous Student Research Experience Placements.


Who should apply

Any student, registered on a UG or PGT programme 2023/24, who is interested in researching these areas and has not previously completed a placement in this scheme should apply. Some research experience would be advantageous, but only that which you have gained during the course of your studies is expected. Candidates who can bring personal perspectives from currently under-represented groups at the University (including, but not limited to people who experience racism, mature, care leaver, Access to Leeds and Plus Programme students) are particularly welcome for their contribution to delivering the Access and Student Success Strategy.

As the placements are partially funded by the Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education (YCEDE), we welcome applications from students studying at YCEDE partner universities as well as from students studying at the University of Leeds. The partner universities are: the University of Bradford, Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Sheffield and the University of York. YCEDE aims to address under-representation in postgraduate research study with a focus on UK Black, Asian and minority ethnic students, we particularly welcome applications from students in this group.

We are keen to hear from people who might not usually take these opportunities, and are offering anyone who is interested the chance to discuss the application process with the LITE research support team prior to applying.

We particularly encourage applicants who can bring personal experience of studying at Higher Education as a student from an under-represented group and/or have demonstrable understanding and awareness of the student success agenda and the challenges faced by under-represented groups.


Support in completing your application

We want to help and support students interested in applying for a student researcher role to submit the best application possible. We are offering the following opportunities to help you complete your application:

  • Finding out about the research placements – hybrid information session. We will cover the structure of the scheme and how to apply for a role. You will also have the opportunity to hear from a student who completed a research placement last summer and ask questions about the placement scheme. The briefing will be recorded and the recording made available online if you are not able to make the scheduled time. Monday 12th February 12:00 - 13:00 on campus and online - you can watch a recording of the briefing here
  • Applying for a student research experience placement (for University of Leeds students only) - This interactive webinar will be delivered by the Careers Service and will share guidance and top tips on how to articulate your skills and experiences into the ‘essential criteria’ section of the application form. This session is open to all University of Leeds students interested in applying for the research experience opportunities. Tuesday 20th February 14:00-15:00. Register on MyCareer here.  
  • Help with your application (for University of Leeds students only) - The Careers Service is offering opportunities for one-to-one appointments to discuss your application. Please have a draft of your application complete before this session as you will be able to discuss specific aspects of your application and to get feedback for improvement before submission. Availability for these one-to-one appointments will be limited. Weeks commencing 26th February and 4th March. Book an appointment here.   
  • One-to-one meetings - if you are unable to attend any of the sessions listed, or if you are a student from a university other than Leeds and would like to discuss the placements and your application we would be happy to chat to you - please email LITE@leeds.ac.uk to arrange a meeting with someone from the LITE team.

How to apply

Read the project details below and select the one you are interested in. (If you would like the details of the projects as a Word document please contact LITE@leeds.ac.uk).

  1. Sign up for the support sessions
  2. For each of the essential criteria provide evidence that demonstrates you have that skill or quality. Be detailed in your answer, provide the context of the example, what your role was, what you did, and what the outcome was and relate to the criteria to show why it is relevant. These answers can be quite detailed.
  3. Bring all your answers together on a Word document so that you have a record of what you have written in your application. You will need to refer back to this if you are shortlisted for an interview.
  4. Submit your application using the online form (see 'Apply Here' below)
  5. You can apply for up to three different projects.

*Please note that if you have previously completed a placement on this scheme, you are not eligible to apply again but we would encourage you to seek opportunities available on other research schemes at the University of Leeds.

Video applications are also being accepted, so if you find it easier to explain your strengths and suitability verbally, then please consider sending us a video telling us about yourself. To submit a video application you will need to send your video to LITE@leeds.ac.uk, indicating what project you would like to be considered for.

The Careers Centre can also offer support in helping you with your application.

Applications open at 09:00 am on Monday 5th February and close at 09:00 am on Monday 11th March.

Apply Here



Project Details

Please note: Projects 1, 5 and 8 are only open to applicants who are students at the University of Leeds.

The are two additional opportunities on the LITE Research Placement Scheme available for University of Leeds students here. 

1. Global Education Partnerships

This project is open for applications from students at the University of Leeds only

Supervised by Dr Madeleine Le Bourdon and Prof Anne Tallontire

This project should be completed as a hybrid project - a mixture of on-campus and online work.

Overview of the project

This project contributes to a research programme that seeks to foster the pedagogical potentials of the University’s growing global education partnerships and networks. By exploring people’s lived experiences of international education at both formal and informal levels, we aim to unlock opportunities for transformative, reciprocal learning that meets the needs of the global community. Reviewing partnerships in breadth and depth the project seeks to provide a rigorous examination of the transformative power in global education partnerships, while aiming to address underlying inequalities and ensure partnerships are equitable.


Nature of the tasks 

The successful candidate will explore student experiences of higher education from an international perspective. Conducting interviews and focus groups with fellow students, they will seek to understand how students from diverse backgrounds feel as 'international' students at Leeds and how Leeds compares to other educational contexts. Tasks will also include distilling key findings and recommendations into a short report and/or creative outputs for current and future global education partnerships. These outputs will help inform the University’s Access and Student Success Strategy.


Developmental benefits 

The project will provide the successful applicant with the opportunity:

  • to develop valuable research skills that will prove useful for future research work, such as your final year/dissertation project
  • to gain a valuable insight into student experiences of global education
  • to develop communication skills by working with staff and students,
  • to enhance your report writing and presentation skills using creative means

Essential criteria

  1. An interest in enhancing the student experience and student success
  2. Experience of a global education partnership or international student experience at Leeds
  3. Good analytical skills, including handling different kinds of data in a systematic way
  4. Ability to communicate with different types of audiences/stakeholders
  5. Ability to write reports or present findings through creative means

2. Student experience of peer-feedback and peer-assessment

Supervised by Dr Pam Birtill

This project may be completed in-person, remotely or in a hybrid manner to be negotiated between the successful applicant and the supervisor.

Overview of the project

One of the ways of managing formative feedback and assessment at scale is the use of peer assessment, using tools such as feedback fruits. This has many advantages, including developing assessment literacy in the peer assessors, and evaluative judgement. However, there are concerns that certain groups of students can be disadvantaged, particularly disabled students, who report receiving ableist feedback. Therefore, we want to investigate the student experience of peer-feedback and -assessment, with a view to developing guidance to support more inclusive interactions, and ensuring that peer-assessment and -feedback is conducted in a way that is supportive to all students.

Aims of the project

  • Develop an evidence base around disabled students experiences of peer assessment and feedback
  • Develop recommendations for supporting effective peer-assessment and feedback
  • Dissemination of findings
  • Raise awareness across the University of ableism in peer-to-peer interactions

Nature of the tasks 

The project holder will work closely with Dr Pam Birtill (Academic lead for Leeds Expectations of Assessment and Feedback) to design and deliver the research project. They will have the opportunity to collaborate with LITE fellows working on allied projects, and with professional services staff working in the disability service. The project holder will take responsibility for:

  • Planning the project, including development of key milestones
  • Literature search and development of research question
  • Data collection: this could involve online surveys, focus groups, semi-structured interviews or listening room methods
  • Data analysis: using qualitative methods such as reflexive thematic analysis
  • Output creation: for internal use, and as basis for peer-reviewed publication
  • Creation of recommendations for supporting effective peer-assessment and feedback

Developmental benefits 

This is a great opportunity to contribute to the wider university work on inclusive approaches to assessment. You will undertake independent research, contributing to the development of their research skills, as well as working in an interdisciplinary team, with LITE fellows, professional services staff and academics to develop an understanding of inclusivity in an educational context. You will contribute to the development of policy, and have a chance to help improve the educational experience of disabled students.


Essential criteria

  1. Knowledge of the university experience of disabled students;
  2. Able to find and evaluate literature on peer-assessment and feedback;
  3. Able to contribute to planning a research project, and to collect primary data;
  4. Able (or willing to learn) to conduct qualitative analysis;
  5. Able to communicate the results of the project through appropriate means.

3. A Representative Medical Curriculum

Supervised by Dr Andrew Walker

This project will require work to be undertaken on campus in Leeds.

Overview of the project

Interested in helping shape the Medical workforce of the future? Want to help the Leeds Medicine Curriculum become more representative of the diverse population we care for and better reflect the students we educate? Join the team to work on this once-in-a-generation review of the MBChB course.

The University of Leeds Medicine and Surgery MBChB (MBChB) has a proud record of successful Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives including widening participation, becoming the first UK Medical School to achieve the Gold Athena Swan award, and implementing the “I Belong” initiative of Prof. Bridgette Berwick, a current Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence (LITE) fellow.

The COVID pandemic has widened existing societal and structural inequalities, highlighting the importance of EDI and the need to embed these values within the curriculum. We witnessed the financial vulnerability of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the increased risk of COVID-19 infection within the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Community. This reinforces the need to identify representative clinical examples from patients of all ethnic backgrounds, as well as the urgent priority to diversify clinical research. We will draw on the experiences of other institutions and work to diversify and “decolonise” the curriculum, by engaging with our students, patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs) to gain a deeper understanding of these factors.

The project provides a unique opportunity to reflect on the current MBChB curriculum and re(de)fine the focus of the programme to ensure University Values are at its heart. Allied to the core work of the Curriculum Redefined project, which will involve mapping the current curriculum and considering priorities for change, this project will allow for a deeper process of engagement with stakeholders to understand the key issues which are important to our students, patients and colleagues with a particular focus on EDI.

For further details see: https://teachingexcellence.leeds.ac.uk/research/fellowships/a-representative-medical-curriculum/ or email a.m.n.walker@leeds.ac.uk


Nature of the tasks 

The successful student will be involved with data collection and analysis on this important project. They may also be involved in interviewing and facilitating focus groups with stakeholders, particularly junior doctors. The researcher will work with the project team to identify key themes from the data that represent priorities for change in our curriculum and provide a student perspective in managing change across the course.


Developmental benefits 

By the end of the placement you will have developed:
• An understanding of the framework for qualitative research
• An understanding of data collection methodology such as surveys, interviews and focus groups.
• An understanding of data analysis, specifically identifying themes across large volumes of information.
• Insights into the key priorities for change in the Medicine curriculum
• Time management, critical appraisal, data interpretation and scientific writing skills.

Students will be encouraged and supported to disseminate their findings at local and international conferences and through peer-reviewed papers.


Essential criteria

  1. A keen interest in the Medical Undergraduate Curriculum in Leeds (MBChB)
  2. A passion for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  3. Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  4. High level time-management and prioritisation abilities
  5. A keen interest in developing skills in qualitative research

4. Hidden Curriculum and Structural Barriers to Student Success

This placement is funded by YCEDE and therefore, open only to applicants who pay UK fees and are of black or minority ethnic heritage 

Supervised by Dr Madeleine Pownall, Dr Richard Harris and Dr Pam Birtill

This project will require work to be undertaken on campus in Leeds.

Overview of the project

This research study aims to understand students' experiences of the"hidden curriculum" within universities and its potential impact on student belonging and success. Hidden curriculum broadly refers to any norm, practice, or rule that students are expected to know but are not explicitly taught. By investigating implicit norms, values, and expectations embedded in academic structures, this can overcome systemic barriers that impact students' experiences. Understanding how the hidden curriculum affects diverse student populations is crucial for fostering inclusivity and belonging.


Nature of the tasks 

The REP holder will be involved in designing a series of empirical studies that investigates different structures of the hidden curriculum, including the personal level (i.e., social relationships), academic level (i.e., studying and attainment), and the psychological level (i.e., feelings of belonging). Tasks will include study design, recruitment, analysis, and theorising the framework of hidden curriculum structures.


Developmental benefits 

Experience of study design, collaborating with academics on an important and overlooked topic, data analysis, publication of research, psychological research methods.


Essential criteria

  1. Proficiency with some quantitative and qualitative research methods;
  2. an interest in student success and belonging;
  3. communication;
  4. the ability to time manage and keep to deadlines;
  5. an interest in applying psychological theory to pedagogy.

5. Diversification of Reading Lists Toolkit

This project is open for applications from students at the University of Leeds only

Supervised by Elly Cope and Nina Wardleworth

This project should be completed as a hybrid project - a mixture of on-campus and online work.

Overview of the project

This project is to support the work being done in the Library and across the University on the diversification of reading lists. The Library is developing a toolkit to help academics find support and resources to help them diversify their reading lists. This work directly relates to the ‘Access and Student Success Strategy 2025’ Attainment strand. This placement is an opportunity for the successful candidate to contribute to the development and improvement of the beta toolkit before it is officially launched in October 2024. You will undertake user experience research on the beta toolkit, drawing on the expertise of academic colleagues regarding the usability and navigability of the resource, and user research with fellow students on the content and with regard to visibility, seeing themselves in the curriculum and the hidden curriculum. We will expect some benchmarking and research relating to toolkits on offer at other institutions and some independent research into what other offerings there are elsewhere and what support might be most appropriate at the University of Leeds. Depending on the time available, there may also be the opportunity to be involved in the development of a promotions and communications plan for the toolkit.


Nature of the tasks 

  • Liaising with key academic and LUU colleagues to identify participants and development partners;
  • Conducting user experience testing and review using a variety of methodologies (for example: focus groups, 1:1 testing, questionnaires), primarily with academic colleagues;
  • Benchmarking the content of our toolkit against those of other institutions, identifying any gaps and working with students on their visibility and concepts of the hidden curriculum to ensure the content is inclusive;
  • Exploring alternatives or complementary services to the toolkit;
  • Identifying and recommending improvements to the toolkit.

Developmental benefits 

  • Experience of organising and conducting user experience testing and events;
  • Experience of compiling qualitative data and producing a report and recommendations;
  • Development of communication and liaison skills with a diverse range of stakeholders;
  • An opportunity to produce original research regarding a core pedagogical offering;
  • The opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the work and offer of the University Library service and collections.

Essential criteria

  1. Dedication and self-motivation, with evidence of being able to take the initiative and work independently, as well as the ability to support and work collaboratively within a wider team;
  2. Interpersonal and communication skills; able to communicate effectively in person and in writing and to take into account competing priorities and different organisational cultures;
  3. A demonstrable interest in diversification and decolonisation of the curriculum and collections;
  4. An interest in working with a diverse range of partners and the ability to work with tact and handle potentially sensitive issues and address ethical concerns;
  5. Confidence in using a range of IT applications with evidence of excellent attention to detail and the ability to conduct online research on a range of platforms.  

6. Embedding participatory methods across the Lifelong Learning Centre (LLC).

Supervised by Vivienne Griggs and Ryan Wilkinson

This project may be completed in-person, remotely or in a hybrid manner to be negotiated between the successful applicant and the supervisor.

Overview of the project

This project will research and evaluate the effective use of participatory research methods in Higher Education (HE), particularly in an interdisciplinary adult learner setting. This will firstly involve a literature review to position the range of participatory methods currently used in HE research with a particular focus on new and innovative approaches. The second phase will involve primary research with colleagues in the LLC to build a picture of current expertise and interest. Finally the project will produce recommendations about how we can develop our expertise so that participatory research becomes an established part of our academic identity through embedding these participatory methods in the LLC’s operations..

The Lifelong Learning Centre adopts an inclusive approach to teaching and learning to support the needs of a diverse cohort of students who come predominantly from underrepresented backgrounds. We are seeking to build our academic identity by enhancing scholarship opportunities which focus on evaluating and sharing our practice and creating further ways to engage our students as partners in their education. We have colleagues with experience of participatory and innovative research methods and have established some new collaborative projects using participatory methods. We’d now like to draw together this breadth of experience and consider how to strategically embed these collaborative methods within specific areas of our work within the LLC including; partnership/student voice, curriculum design, evaluation, and broader pedagogic research and scholarship. This project would link to the specific areas of the student opportunities and futures strategy including our partnership priorities; developing a sense of belonging and decision making; accessible curricula; and drawing on the expertise of our students.

Our research will seek to answer the following questions:
• What range of participatory research methods are being adopted in current HE research?
• In which areas of participatory research methods do the LLC currently have expertise and experience?
• How could participatory research contribute to areas of work in the LLC such as; partnership/student voice, curriculum design, evaluation, and broader pedagogic research and scholarship?


Nature of the tasks 

The role will involve working independently (with supervision) on an initial literature review to develop an understanding of what participatory research methods are being discussed in key HE journals within the last 5 years. There will be a strong focus on methods involving collaboration and co-creation. It is anticipated the project will explore methods such as, but not limited to: story circles, action research, visual methods, photovoice, journey mapping and emancipatory research techniques.

In agreement with the supervisors, the role holder will then undertake some qualitative data collection from colleagues in the LLC to establish current experience and expertise. The exact methods of data collection can be tailored to the specific interest and skills of the intern and they will be given lots of support to develop an appropriate approach and build their research skills.
The final stage will involve generating recommendations in collaboration with the supervisors and potentially assisting in dissemination activities once the project is concluded.


Developmental benefits 

The placement holder will be supported closely by experienced colleagues in producing a literature review and conducting qualitative research. They will:

  • Develop an understanding of participatory research methods in an HE setting;
  • Gain experience of working with staff in a research team;
  • Gain experience of conducting a focused literature review;
  • Facilitate qualitative data collection in a supportive setting;
  • Gain experience of qualitative data analysis;
  • Gain experience of writing up a research project and its findings;
  • Gain experience of disseminating research findings.

Essential criteria

  1. An interest in qualitative and participatory research methods
  2. An ability to work independently with appropriate supervision
  3. An interest in learning more about approaches to research in an HE setting
  4. An ability to identify and summarise key information
  5. Ability to work collaboratively with staff in a research team and ask for support when needed

 

7. Exploring mature student perspectives on value, agency and capitals in a Lifelong Learning Higher Education Context.

Supervised by Ryan Wilkinson, Catherine Bates and Russell Downing

This project may be completed in-person, remotely or in a hybrid manner to be negotiated between the successful applicant and the supervisor.

Overview of the project

In the Lifelong Learning Centre we work with a diverse cohort of students who come predominantly from underrepresented backgrounds. When academic research and Higher Education Institutions discuss these underrepresented groups, the focus can often be on how they don’t fit into the educational ‘norm’ within these spaces. In this project we are interested in how students from these groups enrich the university and can be recognised as challenging the ‘norm’ - by contributing different experiences and bringing in different strengths. In this student-centred research, we want to explore how the students themselves understand their own value, and that of their learning community, through an investigation into the changing nature of their own perception and self-reflections whilst studying at The University of Leeds.

In order to do this, we intend to place students at the heart of every stage of the research process and use student-led participatory research methods to encourage our participants to share the intricate experiences of their everyday life at university. We are interested in how students see themselves and each other and how these perceptions change over time. We aim to develop a way of working with the students which puts their own understanding of their value and experiences at the centre through embedded data collection methods.

Our research will seek to answer the following questions:

  • How do mature students from under-represented groups reflect on their value?
  • What are the every-day experiences of mature students from under-represented groups in Higher Education?
  • How do the perceptions of mature students from under-represented groups of their own value, and the value of others in their learning community, change over time?
  • What are the impacts of the particular Russell Group context on everyday experience and perception of value for mature students from under-represented groups?

Nature of the tasks 

As our research utilises student-led participatory research methodologies, the placement holder will fulfil a pivotal role in the data collection methods. After an initial period of research training, they will facilitate and co-ordinate our primary data collection method in which participants will come together in story circles to share their experiences of Higher Education. The placement holder will also work with the student participants to co-produce the prompts to be used within the story circles sessions and co-lead on another aspect of our data collection, which are a range of diary methods taking place alongside the story circles. The placement holder will perform a key role in bridging the gap between the student participants and wider academic research team. They will also potentially assist in data analysis and literature review activities to further support the project as well as dissemination activities once the project is concluded.


Developmental benefits 

The placement holder will gain experience in all aspects of co-producing research with staff and students in a multidisciplinary Higher Education setting using bespoke participatory research methods. They will:

  • Gain experience of working with staff and students in a research team;
  • Gain experience of facilitating data collection using story circles method including facilitating story circles sessions and co-developing reflective prompts alongside participants;
  • Gain experience of qualitative data analysis;
  • Gain experience of writing up a research project and its findings;
  • Gain experience of disseminating research findings.

Essential criteria

  1. An interest in qualitative participatory research methods
  2. An interest in understanding the experiences of students from under-represented groups
  3. A desire to learn how to effectively facilitate data collection within a story circles setting
  4. Excellent organisational and time management skills
  5. Ability to work collaboratively within a multidisciplinary research team

8. Sense of Belonging and Student Societies - Two placements available

This project is open for applications from students at the University of Leeds only

One of the two places on this project is funded by YCEDE and therefore, open only to applicants who pay UK fees and are of black or minority ethnic heritage, the other is open to all applicants

Supervised by Abigail Smith, Bridgette Bewick and Niamh Mullen

This project may be completed in-person, remotely or in a hybrid manner to be negotiated between the successful applicant and the supervisor.

Overview of the project

Students tell us that societies and socialising is important to overcoming loneliness and helping them to find ‘their group’. Approximately 65% of students report an increased feeling of belonging after participating in student societies (LUU, 2022). Increased sense of belonging is associated with better outcomes for students (e.g. Suhlmann et al, 2018; Hausmann et al, 2007; Gopalan & Brady, 2019). We therefore need to better understand how and why student societies contribute to improving students’ sense of belonging.

This project aims to develop our understanding of the perceived benefits taking part in a student society has on students’ sense of belonging at university. With the support of the Belonging at Leeds and Leeds University Union (LUU) teams, you will first conduct a review of existing evidence. Using qualitative methods, you will collect data on students’ experiences of taking part in societies. By analysing recent survey data and interview transcripts, you will discover how students perceive their involvement in student societies impacted their sense of belonging.

In both peer-review article and creative output formats, you will showcase your findings in order to explain the impact participating in societies has on sense of belonging. Your findings will inform future recommendations and actions. This project is of strategic importance to both LUU and the University of Leeds and your findings will contribute to ongoing work to facilitate students’ sense of belonging.

* Please note that we are recruiting two students for this placement to work collaboratively with the research team and LUU.


Nature of the tasks 

  • To conduct a review of current evidence of how taking part in societies impacts students’ sense of belonging at university.
  • To collect data on students’ experiences of societies using qualitative methods (e.g. interviews, written storytelling)
  • To conduct analysis of the qualitative data (open-text survey data and interviews) using thematic analysis to identify students perceptions of how LUU student societies have facilitated (or not) their sense of belonging.
  • Develop recommendations for how the University and LUU can best maximise the ability of student societies to facilitate students’ sense of belonging.
  • To produce a peer-review style article and a creative output to showcase your findings.

Developmental benefits 

This research placement will develop skills to:

  • Conduct a literature search, including searching techniques, sifting and summarising of key findings;
  • Understand survey methodology and the contribution qualitative data makes;
  • Conduct thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006);
  • Present and communicate complex information in a way that is understood and can inform future activity;
  • Work with key stakeholders across the University and LUU;
  • Work independently as part of a team;
  • Manage time and workload effectively.

Students will be encouraged and supported to disseminate their findings at local and international conferences and through peer-reviewed papers.


Essential criteria

  1. A strong interest in, and understanding of, LUU student societies
  2. A keen interest in developing skills in qualitative research
  3. A keen interest in understanding how students perceive and give meaning to their experiences
  4. Effective time management and organisational skills (e.g. meeting deadlines)
  5. Effective communication skills and ability to work collaboratively within a multidisciplinary research team

9. Living in Student Accommodation: Identifying best practice in order to support students with accessibility requirements

Supervised by Rebecca O'Hare

This project may be completed in-person, remotely or in a hybrid manner to be negotiated between the successful applicant and the supervisor.

Overview of the project

At the University of Leeds, we provide a home to 8,500 students every year. For many students, securing accommodation is a straightforward experience and one without any problems. However, every year a number of students require a range of reasonable adjustments to ensure they can have a safe and comfortable place to call home and enjoy the same equitable student experience as every other student choosing to study at the university. Located within the Accommodation Office, Residential Services has two key staff members who over the years have supported hundreds of students with a range of requirements and assisted them through every stage of their accommodation journey. To ensure our approach remains professional, informed and one which places the needs of the student first, this project will review current practices, benchmark them against a number of chosen universities and importantly conduct interviews with current students to understand their experience.


Nature of the tasks 

Comparative and benchmarking research by seeking information about similar services provided by other universities. Interviews with current students to understand their experiences and gather their suggestions and feedback.


Developmental benefits 

For the successful candidate, this project is an excellent opportunity to learn about the challenges faced by an important group of students studying at the University of Leeds. The project will assist in developing their qualitative and quantitative research skills and provide the opportunity to propose recommendations which if suitable and implemented, will have an improved impact on the student experience of the students affected.


Essential criteria

  1. Empathy,
  2. a passion for supporting under represented students,
  3. confident communication skills,
  4. excellent time management,
  5. an appreciation of the value of qualitative research in particular

10. Queering medicine and health education: a rapid review to support joyful representation of LGBTQIA+ people within the MBChB

Supervised by Bridgette Bewick, Andrew Walker and Charlie Scarff

This project may be completed in-person, remotely or in a hybrid manner to be negotiated between the successful applicant and the supervisor.

Overview of the project

LGBTQIA+ people experience significant health inequalities. Many of these inequalities are rooted in historical injustices. To reduce health inequalities requires systematic and systemic change, including transforming how LGBTQIA+ people are represented in curricula. UK medical students report feeling underprepared for working with LGBTQIA+ patients, and suggested this lack of confidence is because of insufficient education (Barber et al., 2023). To support the diversification of LGBTQIA+ representation in the curriculum this project will conduct a rapid review of available resources. The project will also identify important avenues for further research or recommendations for designing LGBTQIA+ representation into medicine and health education. The project will focus primarily on the MBChB curriculum but it is intended that the project findings will be useful for other School of Medicine programmes (e.g. Physician Associates, Radiography, Medical Education). This project is of strategic importance to the University of Leeds and the School of Medicine, in particular findings from this project will inform the implementation of the GLADD LGBTQIA+ Charter which includes a commitment to more joyful representation of LGBTQIA+ people in the medical curriculum.


Nature of the tasks 

To conduct a rapid review of evidence and resources available to support the diversification of LGBTQIA+ representation in medicine and health education. To identify important avenues for further research and recommendations for designing LGBTQIA+ representation into medicine and health education. To produce a short-report (including case studies of best practice) and a creative output to showcase your findings.


Developmental benefits 

This research placement will develop skills to:

  • Conduct a rapid review of existing evidence and material, including searching techniques, sifting and summarising of key findings; - Present and communicate complex information in a way that is understood and can inform future activity;
  • Work with key stakeholders across the School of Medicine;
  • Work independently as part of a team;
  • Manage time and workload effectively.

Students will be encouraged and supported to disseminate their findings at local and international conferences and through peer-reviewed papers.


Essential criteria

  1. A strong interest in, and understanding of, the MBChB curriculum
  2. A keen interest in addressing health inequalities of LGBTQIA+ communities.
  3. A keen interest in developing skills necessary to synthesise evidence and resources from academic and non-academic sources.
  4. Effective time management and organisational skills (e.g. meeting deadlines)
  5. Effective communication skills and ability to work collaboratively within a multidisciplinary research team.

11. Personal tutoring experiences: joint honours, external students and foundation-level students

This placement is funded by YCEDE and therefore, open only to applicants who pay UK fees and are of black or minority ethnic heritage 

Supervised by Rachael O'Connor

This project should be completed as a hybrid project - a mixture of on-campus and online work.

Overview of the project

This placement will support on-going work at Leeds to develop and enhance the equity and consistency of our academic personal tutoring (APT) model. It has become clear from existing research/feedback that students who are on joint honours programmes, students who take temporary leave from university and students who undertake foundation years may have differential APT experiences. This project will focus on exploring the experiences of such students to inform development of APT at Leeds.


Nature of the tasks 

Gathering feedback on experiences of APT from students who meet the above criteria; conducting literature review/research on experiences more broadly of students who meet the above criteria; working with supervisor to develop proposals to enhance APT support for students who meet the above criteria.


Developmental benefits 

Designing and running student voices projects (e.g. focus groups and surveys); teamwork (with supervisor and graduate intern); contributing to development of personal tutoring and support at the university; improving/developing research skills and communication skills (verbal, written, online/in person etc.)


Essential criteria

  1. passion for equitable personal tutoring/student support experiences
  2. evidence of good communication skills
  3. interest in promoting student voice initiatives
  4. lived experience of being a student and considering the application of your lived experience to this project
  5. ability to manage own time/workload and work in partnership with others

12. How does the use of UniHelper affect the student experience and sense of belonging in Higher Education?

Supervised by Lisa Marshall and Jackie Salter

This project may be completed in-person, remotely or in a hybrid manner to be negotiated between the successful applicant and the supervisor.

Overview of the project

The Curriculum Redefined initiative at the University of Leeds is requiring the institution to diversify students’ study and assessment experiences, which will include the use of more study groups for formally assessed work and informal study support. Group work in Higher Education institutions provides students with important opportunities to develop skills in preparation for their future careers. Informal study support can also provide students with the opportunity to meet and make new friends during their studies, leading to an improved student experience, sense of belonging, and wellbeing. However, establishing effective groups is often difficult as randomly assigning students into a group can result in conflict since students may have different working patterns, requirements, and backgrounds and self-selecting groups can be difficult for students and can result in a negative impact of the student experience as well as sense of belonging.

To support group formation, the University of Leeds is trialling the UniHelper platform, a software tool developed to support allocating students into effective groups according to the group criteria and tailored questions the students are asked. An algorithm analyses all answers and places students into balanced groups with diversity in demographics but equal expectations and different competencies to optimise student's engagement and sense of belonging. The aim of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of UniHelper in improving the student experience, sense of belonging, and wellbeing.


Nature of the tasks 

Several tasks will be involved in this research project.

  • You will be required to undertake a literature review to explore the impact of different types of group work on the student experience and sense of belonging.
  • Using a mixed methods approach you will analyse data collected from students and staff during the academic year on their experience of using UniHelper. You will then design the next steps of the project where you will conduct individual and/or group discussions with participants to gather more in-depth qualitative data.
  • Through analysing all the data collected, you will then make recommendations on the use of UniHelper and the effects it has on student experience and sense of belonging.

Developmental benefits 

By undertaking this research project, you will gain experience in the collection, analysis and presentation of quantitative and qualitative data. Through this you will further develop skills in the appropriate and selective use of library resources, including online databases; gain competence in critically reading journal articles to identify key features of a study; develop knowledge and use different methods to collect primary data; increase competence with interpreting data and assessing findings critically in order to draw appropriate conclusions; and develop skills in methods of digitally presenting key research findings.


Essential criteria

  1. Library skills for searching and retrieval of specific information
  2. The ability to communicate effectively with staff and peers, both written and verbally
  3. Be able to work independently
  4. Good time management and planning skills
  5. An interest in groupwork/group study and improving the educational experience for all students

13. Exploring Formal and Informal Interventions Leveraged by Black Female Students to Complete Their Studies - Two placements available

Supervised by Jessica Agboola (Kinsis),  Nina Wardleworth and Bronwen Swinnerton

This project should be completed online.

Overview of the project

This research project aims to spotlight the multi-dimensional lived experiences of Black female students as they work towards completing their degrees. Utilising interviews, surveys, and qualitative analysis, the study seeks to pinpoint challenges, subsequent actions and/or help sought, and the factors impacting their success. The study aims to provide valuable insights to create a more supportive educational environment for these students in higher education and contribute to work regarding the Access and Student Success Strategy.


Nature of the tasks 

The REP holder will be actively involved in various tasks crucial to the research process. Responsibilities may include:

  • conducting literature reviews to understand existing knowledge and gaps in the field,
  • assisting in the development of interview guides and surveys,
  • informing creative strategies for data collection,
  • co-creating and facilitating interviews and surveys,
  • transcribing and organising qualitative data,
  • contributing to the analysis and communication of research findings.

 

Developmental benefits 

The REP holder will benefit from taking part in an experience such as this in the following ways:

  • Experience co-supervision internal and external to the university, gaining insight into how academic research becomes applied research.
  • Engage in creative data collection methods that are culturally relevant to the demographic in focus.
  • Engage in a research experience that empowers them to view their lived experience as an endeavour worth engaging in scholarship and scientific rigour.
  • Improve their research skills and prepare them for future research through literature reviews, learning about the existing body of knowledge, and understanding diverse research methodologies.
  • Gain experience in project management by assisting with various aspects of the research process, including organising and facilitating data collection activities.
  • Engaging with diverse perspectives and analysing research findings encourages critical thinking and the ability to interpret and draw meaningful conclusions from data.
  • Gain experience collaborating with other researchers.
  • Involvement in the project may provide opportunities for networking with professionals in the field, potentially opening doors for future collaborations or opportunities.

Essential criteria

  1. Personal experience of the project focus and research interest: Applicants should ideally have a background or experiences that allow them to understand and appreciate the students they would be working with. Applicants should demonstrate a genuine interest in the research topic. They should showcase a clear understanding of the project's objectives and the significance of the study within the broader academic context.
  2. Cultural Sensitivity: Applicants should ideally possess personal or cultural insights that could enhance their ability to navigate sensitive topics related to the experiences of Black female students. This might include personal connections, community involvement, or cultural competency gained through previous experiences.
  3. Interpersonal and Communication Skills: Effective communication and interpersonal skills are essential for engaging with research participants, collaborating within a research team, and presenting research findings. Applicants should demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly and professionally, both verbally and in writing, and the capacity to build rapport with diverse individuals.
  4. Creative Perspective on Data Collection and/or Student Engagement: Applicants should feel comfortable proposing creative and culturally sensitive interview techniques that can encourage participants to share their experiences openly. This might include using multimedia, storytelling, or other non-traditional methods to capture a more holistic narrative.
  5. Time Management and Initiative: Successful applicants should be able to demonstrate strong organisational skills and the ability to manage their time effectively to meet project deadlines. They should show initiative and motivation in taking ownership of tasks and problem-solving.

14. Re-imagining working class identity and belonging in Higher Education

Supervised by Clare Mawson (Faculty of Social Sciences)

This project may be completed in-person, remotely or in a hybrid manner to be negotiated between the successful applicant and the supervisor.

Overview of the project

Social class remains under-discussed in terms of belonging within universities. This may reflect issues related to defining class, such under-discussion can also be explained by understanding how class identity within HE (Higher Education) is understood through a lens of social mobility. That is, a working-class identity is something that is left behind when you enter an elite learning institution.

As Reay (2017) suggests this can lead to a sense of shame, within a middle-class institution the shame of being an outsider and the personal shame of feeling that your family and friends are something that you are trying to escape. The expectation of assimilation is common in elite spaces; however, this can also lead to feelings of not being good enough (Reay, 2017; Bourdieu, 1994). These feelings can often be dismissed as ‘imposter syndrome’, feeling like a fraud or that university is not a place to belong (Reay, 2015).

The University of Leeds commits to developing an inclusive environment. The Academic Strategy 2020 – 2030 – Universal Values, Global Changes states,

'We believe that every student, staff and other member of our community should be treated with
dignity and mutual respect. We should all be part of a learning and working environment that is
free from barriers'.

This research project will consider the extent to which working-class members of the Leeds community feel that they are valued, belong and are enabled to participate and progress using insight from lived experiences.


Nature of the tasks 

The REP will carry out several tasks both independently and as a team:

  1. Design an achievable qualitative research method in partnership with the supervisor.
  2. Undertake a literature review.
  3. Recruit and engage research participants.
  4. Transcribe data and produce a research report.
  5. Develop a definition of working class in the context of the University of Leeds from research findings.

Developmental benefits 

There are many developmental benefits for the REP student which include but are not limited to:

  1. Gaining experience in designing research.
  2. Developing networking skills to support future developments.
  3. Gaining experience in data analysis.
  4. Development of report writing skills.
  5. Development of skills to prepare and disseminate research.

Essential criteria

  1. A strong interest in inclusive education and an understanding of marginalised groups in higher education.
  2. The ability to co-develop a qualitative research project.
  3. Good organisational and time-management skills.
  4. An understanding or enthusiasm to learn about class inequality.
  5. The ability to work both independently and as part of a team.