Gemma Haywood, MSc Child Development alumna

I graduated from the School of Psychology at Keele University in 2019. I greatly enjoyed the research side of my undergraduate degree; however I was unsure whether to pursue this further with a career in academia or train as a schoolteacher. To help me decide, I undertook the Master’s in Child Development. 

The specialist module in Child Development gave me a deeper insight into topics such as bullying and humour use, which emphasised the importance of psychology research in improving everyday life, through for example reducing bullying. I was able to further develop this knowledge with a classmate, by designing a psychologically informed intervention. We decided to create an intervention facilitating the inclusion of children with Autism in mainstream schools. My primary research interests centre around improving the wellbeing of children with Autism so being able to design such an intervention was particularly insightful. I learnt a lot about applied psychology and how to effectively engage children in research; in our intervention we proposed utilising a jigsaw, which I greatly enjoyed creating, using principles of psychology.

These research skills were complimented by all of the modules in this Master’s. In particular, I enjoyed the research apprenticeship module, whereby I was assigned to a project that was in a completely different area of psychology to child development. This improved my knowledge and skills regarding the practicalities of research, whilst also introducing me to different methods and research designs that I could use in my own research. Similarly, completing my dissertation enhanced these skills. My project explored the relationship between humour styles, retrospective school belonging and Autism traits. The free reign regarding subject choice and the fantastic support from my supervisor, even during COVID-19, made this a very enjoyable and insightful module.

Overall, I very much enjoyed my Master’s in Child Development. It has enhanced my passion for research and has equipped me with many transferable skills. I will now be undertaking a PhD, in the aim of pursuing a career in lecturing, which will combine my love of research and teaching. A massive thank you to Keele Psychology for all your support over the years!