Category Archives: Authors’ experience

Authors’ experience in working in research and publishing in scientific journals.

Magical 7±2 Tips for Psychologists Participating in a Hackathon

A hackathon is an event, typically lasting for 24-48 hours, in which a group of people with diverse backgrounds come together to solve a problem by building a first working prototype of a solution (usually a web app, program or a utility).

There is something inherently likable, or dare I say, smart, about hackathons. They have a specific goal, your progress and results are measurable, getting a first working prototype is both achievable and realistic, and it will all be over in 24-48 hours. I have come to appreciate hackathons a lot over the last five months where I’ve participated in five, and won two of them with my teams. I would like to invite you to participate in one as well by giving you 7±2 tips to make your hackathon experience especially enjoyable.

#1 Just go

There’s more to a hackathon than just programming. Every team needs to tackle a wide variety of tasks ranging from totally non-technical to highly technical. Someone has to make nice visuals, look for evidence to back the product, write code to make it work and combine all the work into a meaningful proposal for the jury. The best teams in a hackathon have a diverse set of skills in a team (although always at least one developer).

Worst case scenario is that you’ve grown your professional network, enjoyed some social meals and gained invaluable experience of developing something from an ideation phase to a first working prototype.

#2 Focus on your unique skillset

Your expertise in your favorite domain in psychology will be an important contribution to the team. In the Accenture Digital Hackathon our Bitein team worked on making language learning easier. As an experimental psychologist with a special interest in memory research, I could make sure that our product incorporates spaced repetition and self-testing – two most scientifically backed ways to enhance memory.

From psychological research we know that brainstorming sessions generate way more ideas when participants brainstorm on their own first, and only then share their ideas with others. We can use our questionnaire building skills to carry out – decent market research, or design experiments (A/B tests) to make confident causal statements about the solid base for our product. The more you develop your technical skills, the more you can be involved with the implementation of these ideas yourself.

#3 Focus on giving your best (not winning)

Winning is not under your control, doing your best is. Winning is a destination, doing your best is a process that optimizes your chances of getting there. Having the attitude of focusing on things under your control allows you to feel good about the progress you are making without making unfair comparisons with others. In every hackathon I’ve been to, there have been teams who silently leave the event thinking their great idea was crap just because they didn’t win a prize.

Doing your best includes working with a goal in mind and with a clear understanding of the judging criteria, also optimizing your chances of winning a sponsor prize. But, judges make their decision based on the competition of that event. Also, you end up in a team with people you didn’t know before and your team might choose to pursue an idea in a field you are not familiar with – yet.

BiteIn team choosing a project at Accenture Digital Hackathon. From the right: Taavi Kivisik, Amine Rhord, Jedda Boyle, our mentor Nima Rahbari, Zhi Li and Paulina Siwak. (Photo courtesy of Marija Jankovic.)

#4 Prepare for the pitch, and practise!

One of the biggest mistakes teams can do in a hackathon is to underestimate the importance of an amazing pitch. In most cases, those 2 minutes are the only time the judges ever hear about your product (a technical check is done separately).

Hackathon organizer and pitch coach Brian Collins recommends teams to choose the pitcher early and start practising early. Also, at least the pitcher should get a good night’s sleep. It means that the pitcher knows in advance to start gathering punchlines, finding her own phrasing that would carry the meaning seamlessly, and packaging it in a unique manner. Three hours of pitch preparation has been the absolute minimum in my teams.

#5 Have a working prototype

There is a big difference between teams selling an idea, and teams that sell an idea with a working prototype. If your idea relies on translating parts of webpages, then demonstrate that you can do that and forget building the login screen. Get something ready, and then, don’t break it (or just use Git).

At IBC Hackfest, our Skipaclass team’s lead developer Itay Kinnrot categorically refused to make any changes to the code during the last hour before the deadline. Our prototype was working flawlessly and our pitcher could sell our future development plans on top of that solid basis. We won.

#6 Have fun

Hackathons are engaging, thrilling and intense. Most people even spend the night at the venue. It can quickly induce a state where the only thing you think of is your idea and your prototype. But, hackathons bring together an amazing bunch of people. Take time to learn more about your teammates, who they are as fellow human beings. Take time to talk to that mentor working in a company you would love to work for. One day, one of these mentors might offer you a job just like Stefan Hogendoorn (mentor at IBC Hackfest) offered me a job at Qlouder.

 

Participating in hackathons has been lots of fun and a great place for professional development. Just type in ‘hackathon’ and your current city to get hackathon experiences of your own.
PS! If you are still wondering why ‘magical’ and ‘7±2’, then click here.

Taavi Kivisik

Data scientist and developer at Qlouder. While at the University of Tartu and University of Toronto, I was inspired to learn more about efficient learning and mnemonics. Midway through the studies I discovered my passion for research methodology and technical side of research, statistics and programming, also machine learning. I’m volunteering as a Lead Archivist for the Nordic Psychology Students’ Conference (NPSC). I'm former President of the Estonian Psychology Students’ Association and former Junior Editor at the Journal of European Psychology Students’ (JEPS). I sometimes tweet @tkivisik .

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterLinkedIn

Facebooktwitterrss

Editor’s Pick: Our favorite MOOCs

There used to be a time when students could attend classes at their university or in their vicinity – and that was it. Lately, the geospatial restriction has vanished with the introduction of massive open online courses (MOOC’s). This format of online courses are part of the “open education” idea, offering everyone with an internet connection an opportunity to participate in various courses, presented by more and less known institutions and universities. The concept is more or less similar for all courses: anyone can join, and lectures are available in form of a video and as lecture notes. During the course, whether it is a fixed-date or self-paced (as in you deciding when to complete tasks), you will need to take quizzes, exams, and/or written projects if you wish to complete the course. In less than 10 years, this idea has grown to include millions of users, hundreds of countries and more than a dozen universities around the world, while continuing to grow.
shutterstock_242216224

A few years back, most courses were free and offered certificates as a reward for course completion. Nowadays, you can participate in most courses offered, but if you wish to get a certificate, there is a fee. As with every course in universities, professors or assistants are available for your questions and there is a forum for interacting with other people enrolled. In case you aren’t confident you will be able to fully understand a course in english, some of the popular courses come subtitles. If you fall in love with the format and would like to contribute, Coursera offers the possibility of you becoming a translator.

Lifelong learning is the norm nowadays. By taking MOOC, you can gain new skills and knowledge in any area of interest or keep up with the latest trends in your field. In case you are considering a change in your career or are going to start university soon, it is a nice way to sneak a peek into what the topic entails with all the time flexibility you’d like to have and from the comfort of wherever you are.

The following courses are grouped into categories, from general introductions to specific topics that enhance your methodological toolbox. Apart from the courses the JEPS team can personally recommend you, you can find a list of currently available MOOC’s on https://www.mooc-list.com/
 
Introduction to psychology – University of Toronto
If you are considering studying psychology or are just interested in psychology in general and are looking for a nice and comprehensive introduction, this course is yours. It covers all topics and gives you a good overview of how psychology came to be, what fields it covers, and a student favorite—mental illness. The lectures are easy to follow, cover the main topics any good textbook would cover in a more interactive and interesting way, and include the most famous experiments in psychology.

Writing in the Sciences – Stanford University
A truly excellent course that starts explaining how to improve punctuation, sentences, and paragraphs to communicate ideas as clear as possible. It also offers incredibly helpful models for how to structure your research paper. The course makes extensive use of examples so that you can apply the techniques immediately to your own work. This course will change how you write your thesis!

Understanding the Brain: The Neurobiology of Everyday Life – University of Chicago
The brain is a complex system and its neurobiology is no exception. This course takes you through all the important parts of the nervous system (beyond the brain itself) involved in our everyday functioning. Each lecture includes a very well explained theory and physiology behind the topic at hand, accompanied by very interesting examples and real-life cases to give you a better understanding. Highly recommended is the lecture on strokes–from their originas, what happens to the brain during one, to consequences to a person’s functioning.

The Brain and Space – Duke University
If you have ever wondered how our brain perceives the space around and interprets the input we get from our senses into the major picture, this course will give you a very detailed image of this complex phenomenon. Even though a general understanding of neuroscience and perception is recommended, the material can be understood with some help of Wikipedia for explanation of any unknown concepts. Everything you wanted to know about vision, spatial orientation, and perception in general is here.

Programming for Everybody (Getting started with Python) – University of Michigan
First part of the five-part course on Python programming, this is a very nice and slow-paced introductory course into the world of programming. As no previous knowledge is required, everything is explained in an easily understandable manner with a lot of examples. The shining star of this course is the professor himself, whose funny remarks make the daunting task of writing code a fun experience. In case of any doubts, there is a big and very active community on the forum ready to help at any moment.

Machine learning – Stanford University
A great introductory course in machine learning. It starts with linear regression and quickly advances into more advanced topics such as model selection, neural networks, support vector machines, large scale machine learning. The course gives both a first overview over the field and teaches you hands-on machine learning skills you can immediately apply to your research!

Calculus single variable (Five-part course) – University of Pennsylvania
Most probably the best calculus course in the world. It only requires high-school math knowledge and from there on builds up a deep knowledge about calculus by using fantastic graphics and many intuitive examples. A challenging course that is worth every minute spent on!

Introduction to Neuroeconomics: How the Brain Makes Decisions – Higher School of Economics
As neuroeconomy and psychology have been gaining a lot of attention recently, this course gives a comprehensive overview of the foundations for this new hot field and the research. As this course is highly interdisciplinary, expect to learn about neuroanatomy, psychological processes, and principles of economy merging into one theory behind decision-making. From bees, monkeys, game theory, why we dislike losing above all, and group dynamics–this course covers it all.

Statistical Learning – Stanford University
An outstanding statistics course taught by two of the world’s most famous statisticians, Trevor Hastie and Rob Tibshirani. They present tough statistical concepts in an incredibly intuitive manner and provide an R-lab after each topic to make sure that you are able to apply new knowledge immediately. They provide both of their textbooks free download for download, one heavier on the math, the other more applied.

The Addicted Brain – Emory University
Navigating in the modern world includes being exposed to (mis)information about various psychoactive substances. As having the information backed by scientific research is less biased and solid, this should be the place to learn about this topic. The course goes through all major addictive substances: from the more legal ones like alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine; medication and illegal substances; along with ways in which they change the brain and affect behavior. Lastly, two lectures cover the risks of addiction along with treatments and recent policy developments.

Drugs and the Brain – CALTECH
Building on the basics of “the Addicted Brain” (I suggest taking that one prior to this one), the course goes more in depth into what happens on a molecular level in the brain the moment a drug is taken. A big part of the course requires learning the principles of psychopharmacology, which I would wholeheartedly recommend for anyone who either wants to be a clinical psychologist or is interested in how drugs for various psychiatric diagnoses work. The course goes beyond the scope of the more basic previously mentioned course by covering neurodegenerative diseases we often hear about but aren’t really sure what they entail, along with serious headaches or migraines.

Let us know if you found this helpful or if you have any tips. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration to take a course yourself while browsing the ones we have mentioned. If you have a suggestion or previous experience with this, feel free to comment below!

Lea Jakob

Lea Jakob

Lea Jakob is currently finishing her psychology Master’s degree at University of Zagreb, Centre for Croatian Studies. Her research interests include clinical psychology within which she is writing her masters thesis on the topic of cognitive impairment in pulmonary patients as well as music perception and cognition. Apart from her passion for research, she has a serious case of wanderlust paired with polyglotism.

More Posts

Facebooktwitterrss

Meet the Authors

Do you wish to publish your work but don’t know how to get started? We asked some of our student authors, Janne Hellerup Nielsen, Dimitar Karadzhov, and Noelle Sammon, to share their experience of getting published.

Janne Hellerup Nielsen is a psychology graduate from Copenhagen University. Currently, she works in the field of selection and recruitment within the Danish Defence. She is the first author of the research article “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder among Danish Soldiers 2.5 Years after Military Deployment in Afghanistan: The Role of Personality Traits as Predisposing Risk Factors”. Prior to this publication, she had no experience with publishing or peer review but she decided to submit her research to JEPS because “it is a peer reviewed journal and the staff at JEPS are very helpful, which was a great help during the editing and publishing process.”

Dimitar Karadzhov moved to Glasgow, United Kingdom to study psychology (bachelor of science) at the University of Glasgow. He completed his undergraduate degree in 2014 and he is currently completing a part-time master of science in global mental health at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of “Assessing Resilience in War-Affected Children and Adolescents: A Critical Review”. Prior to this publication, he had no experience with publishing or peer review. Now having gone through the publication process, he recommends fellow students to submit their work because “it is a great research and networking experience.”

Noelle Sammon has an honors degree in business studies. She returned to study in university in 2010 and completed a higher diploma in psychology in the National University of Ireland, Galway. She is currently completing a master’s degree in applied psychology at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. She plans to pursue a career in clinical psychology. She is the first author of the research article “The Impact of Attention on Eyewitness Identification and Change Blindness”. Noelle had some experience with the publication process while previously working as a research assistant. She describes her experience with JEPS as follows: “[It was] very professional and a nice introduction to publishing research. I found the editors that I was in contact with to be really helpful in offering guidance and support. Overall, the publication process took approximately 10 months from start to finish but having had the opportunity to experience this process, I would encourage other students to publish their research.”

How did the research you published come about?

Janne: “During my psychology studies, I had an internship at a research center in the Danish Defence. Here I was a part of a big prospective study regarding deployed soldiers and their psychological well-being after homecoming. I was so lucky to get to use the data from the research project to conduct my own studies regarding personality traits and the development of PTSD. I’ve always been interested in differential psychology—for example, why people manage the same traumatic experiences differently. Therefore, it was a great opportunity to do research within the field of personality traits and the development of PTSD, and even to do so with some greatly experienced supervisors, Annie and Søren.”

Dimitar: “In my final year of the bachelor of science degree in psychology, I undertook a critical review module. My assigned supervisor was liberal enough and gave me complete freedom to choose the topic I would like to write about. I then browsed a few The Psychologist editions I had for inspiration and was particularly interested in the area of resilience from a social justice perspective. Resilience is a controversial and fluid concept, and it is key to recovery from traumatic events such as natural disasters, personal trauma, war, terrorism, etc. It originates from biomedical sciences and it was fascinating to explore how such a concept had been adopted and researched by the social and humanitarian sciences. I was intrigued to research the similarities between biological resilience of human and non-human animals and psychological resilience in the face of extremely traumatic experiences such as war. To add an extra layer of complexity, I was fascinated by how the most vulnerable of all, children and adolescents, conceptualize, build, maintain, and experience resilience. From a researcher’s perspective, one of the biggest challenges is to devise and apply methods of inquiry in order to investigate the concept of resilience in the most valid, reliable, and culturally appropriate manner. The quantitative–qualitative dyad was a useful organizing framework for my work and it was interesting to see how it would fit within the resilience discourse.”

Noelle: “The research piece was my thesis project for the higher diploma (HDIP). I have always had an interest in forensic psychology. Moreover, while attending the National University of Ireland, Galway as part of my HDIP, I studied forensic psychology. This got me really interested in eyewitness testimony and the overwhelming amount of research highlighting the problematic reliability with it.”

What did you enjoy most in your research and what did you find difficult?

Janne: “There is a lot of editing and so forth when you publish your research, but then again it really makes sense because you have to be able to communicate the results of your research out to the public. To me, that is one of the main purposes of research: to be able to share the knowledge that comes out of it.”

Dimitar: “[I enjoyed] my familiarization with conflicting models of resilience (including biological models), with the origins and evolution of the concept, and with the qualitative framework for investigation of coping mechanisms in vulnerable, deprived populations. In the research process, the most difficult part was creating a coherent piece of work that was very informative and also interesting and readable, and relevant to current affairs and sociopolitical processes in low- and middle-income countries. In the publication process, the most difficult bit was ensuring my work adhered to the publication standards of the journal and addressing the feedback provided at each stage of the review process within the time scale requested.”

Noelle: “I enjoyed developing the methodology to test the research hypothesis and then getting the opportunity to test it. [What I found difficult was] ensuring the methodology would manipulate the variables required.”

How did you overcome these difficulties?

Janne: “[By] staying focused on the goal of publishing my research.”

Dimitar: “With persistence, motivation, belief, and a love for science! And, of course, with the fantastic support from the JEPS publication staff.”

Noelle: “I conducted a pilot using a sample of students asking them to identify any problems with materials or methodology that may need to be altered.”

What did you find helpful when you were doing your research and writing your paper?

Janne: “It was very important for me to get competent feedback from experienced supervisors.”

Dimitar: “Particularly helpful was reading systematic reviews, meta-analyses, conceptual papers, and methodological critique.”

Noelle: “I found my supervisor to be very helpful when conducting my research. In relation to the write-up of the paper, I found that having peers and non-psychology friends read and review my paper helped ensure that it was understandable, especially for lay people.”

Finally, here are some words of wisdom from our authors.

Janne: “Don’t think you can’t do it. It requires some hard work, but the effort is worth it when you see your research published in a journal.”

Dimitar: “Choose a topic you are truly passionate about and be prepared to explore the problem from multiple perspectives, and don’t forget about the ethical dimension of every scientific inquiry. Do not be afraid to share your work with others, look for feedback, and be ready to receive feedback constructively.”

Noelle: “When conducting research it is important to pick an area of research that you are interested in and really refine the research question being asked. Also, if you are able to get a colleague or peer to review it for you, do so.”

We hope our authors have inspired you to go ahead and make that first step towards publishing your research. We welcome your submissions anytime! Our publication guidelines can be viewed here. We also prepared a manual for authors that we hope will make your life easier. If you do have questions, feel free to get in touch at journal@efpsa.org.

This post was edited by Altan Orhon.

Leonor Agan

Leonor is a postgraduate student at the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences (University of Edinburgh), pursuing a MSc in Neuroimaging for Research. She holds a BSc in Psychology from the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines and a BA in Psychology from Maynooth University in Ireland.  She worked as a Research Assistant in Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Complex and Adaptive Systems Laboratory (University College Dublin), and Psychology Department (University College Dublin). Her research interests include cognition, memory, and neuroimaging techniques, specifically diffusion MRI and its applications in disease. She is also an Editor of the Journal of European Psychology Students. Find her on Twitter @leonoragan and link in with her.

More Posts

Facebooktwitterrss

Editors’ Pick: Our Favourite Psychology and Neuroscience Podcasts

Podcasts

As students of psychology, we are accustomed to poring through journal articles and course-approved textbooks to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field. While these resources are the cornerstones of scientific research, there are myriad other ways to enhance our understanding of our chosen disciplines – namely through podcasts! Continue reading

Maedbh King

Maedbh King

Maedbh King is a Junior Editor at JEPS and a first-year Masters candidate, studying cognitive neuroscience in the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University, Canada. She is interested in better understanding the role played by the cerebellum in both motor and cognitive abilities using neuroimaging techniques and statistical modelling. She is also an avid listener of podcasts, which keep her up-to-speed on the latest developments in the fields of neuroscience and psychology.

More Posts

Facebooktwitterrss

Engaging in a Research Project with an International Team – Opportunities and Problems

ID-100160549Doing science is great, but doing it together with people you can learn from and who share your research interests – that’s fantastic! Add the cross-cultural dimension to the project and it grows even better! Why doesn’t everyone do that? Regrettably the projects involving collaborative work with other young scientists and/or students who love research can often be hard to begin and even tougher to maintain. Although undeniably rewarding, working in a traditional team already has a number of difficulties, while doing it with people who you can’t communicate with face-to-face adds a whole new pile of concerns. Let’s face it – even with a great concept writing a paper doesn’t always go smoothly and it can turn into tough, uninspiring work; keeping up with an international team and all the things that come with being part of one (things we often don’t even have to think of when working alone, such as communication problems, file storage, different ethics procedures than these in our academic institution, other people’s needs, skills and motivation, etc.) can quickly turn our initial enthusiasm into disillusionment.  Well, thanks to the advances in technology and some good old tips and ideas – it doesn’t have to be so bleak and discouraging! Read on for some useful strategies, ideas and tools to help start off your collaboration efforts, keep your team together, your productivity high and your experiences positive while conducting cross-cultural research with peers from abroad!  Continue reading

Etien Benov

Etien Benov

Etien Benov is currently a BSc Psychology student in Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" and he is serving as a Bulletin Editor in the Journal of European Psychology Students. His interests are mainly in neuroscience research and philosophy of science.

More Posts

Facebooktwitterrss

Twitter in The University: How Using Twitter Can Benefit Students and Early Career Researchers

Twitter is stereotypically portrayed as a website for following celebrities and posting mundane tidbits. Recently, I realized that Twitter could be used as an academic tool – to share and receive ideas and information in an educational context. Indeed, students and early career researchers should be capitalizing on Twitter to learn new information, connect with others, and share interesting thoughts. Continue reading

Julie Lee

Julie Lee (@synapticlee) is a second year psychology undergraduate at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom. Her research interests are in psycholinguistics and cognitive neuroscience.

More Posts

Facebooktwitterrss

Applying for a PhD in the UK in 387 easy steps

ID-10071734You cannot get enough of all the research and had such a blast writing your bachelor or master thesis? You want to join the scientific side of things (although they don’t have many cookies), and pursue a PhD? You also want to enjoy cricket, tea and Kate Middleton? 

Continue reading

Katharina Brecht

Katharina Brecht

Aside from her role as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of European Psychology Students, Katharina is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests revolve around the evolution and development of social cognition.

More Posts

Facebooktwitterrss

Collaborating With Researchers in Other Fields

collaboration As students and young professionals by now we have come to realize how working with other people is essential for the completion of  many goals in the pursuit of scientific relevance. Sometimes it is through the insight, know-how and/or dedication of others that we can push forward a project that was stuck at a roadblock. So how do scientists in the field of psychology collaborate with other scientists and what strengths  and disadvantages they may have in a team of researchers with diverse backgrounds? The following piece attempts to outline some such possible opportunities and hurdles.

Continue reading

Etien Benov

Etien Benov

Etien Benov is currently a BSc Psychology student in Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" and he is serving as a Bulletin Editor in the Journal of European Psychology Students. His interests are mainly in neuroscience research and philosophy of science.

More Posts

Facebooktwitterrss

Crowdsourcing (Gathering Data Online): Cutting Cost & Time

networkImagine a task that is simple for a human and difficult for a computer. For example, recognizing if a photograph contains a cat or a dog is a straightforward task even for a few months old child (Quinn & Eimas, 1996), but extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a computer  (Shotton et al., 2006) because the two are quite similar in terms of shape. In order to capitalize on human’s superiority over computers in some kind of tasks, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) came up with a platform called Amazon Mechanical Turk (https://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome), where it is possible to ask human workers to complete HITs – Human Intelligence Tasks.

Continue reading

Peter Lewinski

Peter Lewinski

Peter Lewinski is Marie Curie Research Fellow in The CONsumer COmpetence Research Training (CONCORT) and in Vicarious Perception Technologies B.V. He is a PhD candidate (2012-2015) in Persuasive Communication at Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) - University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He studies facial expressions and advertisements. He was at the EFPSA Executive Board and Board of Management in 2011-2013.

More Posts - Website

Facebooktwitterrss

Social Sciences: Academia & Industry – On the Edge of Two Worlds

Academia and industry are are often defined as two conflicting worlds. However, these two worlds can complement and learn from one another. In this article, I will present my experience working on the edge of academia and industry and enjoying both equally.

In addition, I will focus on the social sciences and the career prospective of the young bachelor or master graduates while taking into account the broad international context.

Continue reading

Peter Lewinski

Peter Lewinski

Peter Lewinski is Marie Curie Research Fellow in The CONsumer COmpetence Research Training (CONCORT) and in Vicarious Perception Technologies B.V. He is a PhD candidate (2012-2015) in Persuasive Communication at Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) - University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He studies facial expressions and advertisements. He was at the EFPSA Executive Board and Board of Management in 2011-2013.

More Posts - Website

Facebooktwitterrss