Research knowledge for interview

Discuss what to expect in job and course interviews, what topics might be covered, how to manage anxiety, and how to get the desired result!
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Anna39
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Research knowledge for interview

Post by Anna39 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:25 pm

Hi,

It's my first time applying for the doctorate. I have not been invited for interview but I thought it couldn't hurt to do some preparation even if I am not successful this year. My knowledge of research/statistics is lacking and I foolishly didn't download my lecture slides before I graduated. I have two books on statistics, but I am unsure whether they are enough: SPSS for Psychologists by Brace, Kemp and Snelgar, and Doing Statistics with SPSS by Kerr, Hall and Kozub. If not, I want something which will cover what I need, but still be relatively straightforward. If anyone has any advice, I would really appreciate it.

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BlueCat
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Re: Research knowledge for interview

Post by BlueCat » Sun Jan 17, 2016 2:54 pm

I don't know those specific books, but they sound like they are focussed on stats, rather than research methods? You basically need a good undergraduate knowledge of research methods and statistics. Any comprehensive undergrad textbook should do the job.
There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Billy Connolly.

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sarahg
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Re: Research knowledge for interview

Post by sarahg » Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:02 am

Statistics and research methods is quite hard to learn and retain through just reading a book. You need to be able to apply your knowledge to particular scenarios.

If I were in your position I would find some of the course RM/Stats exams and use those to practise my knowledge.

Good luck :D

alexh
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Re: Research knowledge for interview

Post by alexh » Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:57 pm

I found research scenario vignettes an excellent way to prepare. I think i found some here or elsewhere on the web. Essentially you have a research question like "is this ward group effective in helping patients manage their anxiety" and you think through how you would test that.

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mungle
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Re: Research knowledge for interview

Post by mungle » Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:07 pm

Good luck with the statistics learning. I agree that you'll need to be able to flexibly apply the knowledge to scenarios in the interview.
Some suggestions for revision
- The stats you used in your dissertation/other research mentioned on your form and why you used it (and any alternaties you could have considered)
- Different statistical methods and why and when you would use them (e.g. T test, ANOVA etc.)
- what checks you might need to make on data before applying statistics
- Principles such as effect, power calculations etc.
- Practise critiquing analysis in research articles
- Practise deciding what statistics you would use in research vignettes

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firegal
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Re: Research knowledge for interview

Post by firegal » Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:42 pm

mungle wrote: Some suggestions for revision
- The stats you used in your dissertation/other research mentioned on your form and why you used it (and any alternaties you could have considered)

- Practise deciding what statistics you would use in research vignettes
These
I didn't really revise stats too much, thinking "They won't get too in depth with stats, and I'm an RA anyway, I do stats every day, I should be OK".
When I got asked what stats test I might use for a study I'd just outlined in response to a vignette, I completely floundered, didn't have a clue. When they eventually put me out of my misery and told me, it turned out to be the exact same test that I'd used for a large portion of the analysis of my MRes thesis which I'd just been talking about!
Don't think that was the deciding factor in my not getting picked (research methods never got mentioned in my feedback) but I did feel like a right wally, which of course set me on the back foot for the rest of the interviews.

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BlueCat
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Re: Research knowledge for interview

Post by BlueCat » Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:57 pm

Don't forget there are some great free university level tutorials available through places like coursera.
There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Billy Connolly.

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Mush
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Re: Research knowledge for interview

Post by Mush » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:34 am

Think its difficult to unpick this questions without knowing which universities you'll possibly get interviews for. I know from my experience the courses in my area look at research skills in slightly different ways. I assume this means there is a lot of variance (excuse the pun) between all the courses.

My advice is pitch your self at your level of knowledge, if your last experience is undergrad only. Then keep brushed up on research design and simpler stats (and difference between clinical and statistical significance for example). A really easy read to get into is Andy Fieldings 'discovering stats'. If there are things you cannot answer. My tact which worked for me, was to recognise my limitations, but explain I'm here to learn from them/know where to look to get answers. But thats if course you've chosen has a soul - some just expect you to know.....

Hope this was helpful

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