Academic Spotlight: Supporting students to launch careers in research
Pauline Prevett, academic lead for the Research Methods Master of Science programme offered by the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED), started her career as a maths teacher before moving on to a career in educational research and university teaching. Here she shares the breadth of her research career and explains how the course she leads can help support anyone wanting to launch a research career.
On her research
Pauline has taken advantage of the diversity and interdisciplinary culture of The University of Manchester to undertake research in a broad range of areas cutting across traditional disciplinary boundaries. Her research has encompassed themes including;
• inclusive education for children with special educational needs such as visual impairments and Down’s syndrome;
• understanding student decision making around choosing STEM subjects, and;
• a project on understanding financial literacy, in collaboration with colleagues in the Alliance Manchester Business School.
Pauline explains more;
“What connects all these different areas has been a growing interest in using sociocultural theory to understand the active subject in relation to engagement, disengagement, agency, subjectivity and learning.”
“Manchester is a vibrant pace to work and provides the infrastructure to develop my research agenda, working with colleagues across the University.”
Pauline also has a keen interest in developing research methods and is working to advance and improve ways in which research is conducted.
“I have always been interested in developing research methodologies and methods that sit alongside the research projects. For example, I have recently published a paper that applies cluster analysis to an initially qualitative data set and I am currently working on a paper that uses participants’ concept maps as the foci of interviews to reveal students’ financial subjectivities.”
On supporting students to launch careers in research
Pauline is the programme lead for the MSc Research Methods, which is available with education, human geography, international development and planning and environmental management pathways and she also teaches on some of the core and optional units of the courses. These courses are ideal for individuals who are interested in launching a career in research. Pauline explains some of the benefits of studying these master’s courses;
“The degree is one of very few recognised by the North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership, which is the body that oversees ESRC doctoral scholarships for the North West of England.”
“You will also study with current doctoral students in some of the sessions and so this degree helps provide a bridge into our doctoral community in SEED. It is a great programme to choice if you are hoping to progress to a PhD or if you are wanting to embark on a career as a researcher within one of the four pathway areas. The programme helps you to grow as a researcher with both broad based and specific areas of expertise and so to have the confidence to take the next steps.”