Sarah Higgins wins the National BPS/ATSiP Technical Support in Psychological Teaching Award!

We are very pleased to announce that Sarah Higgins, Technical Sarah-HSkills Specialist in the Psychology Department at Staffordshire University, has won a National Award in recognition of her excellent contribution to teaching!

Sarah’s award is jointly recognised by the British Psychological Society and the Association of Technical Staff in Psychology (ATSiP), and has been announced as a joint-winner of this year’s award. Sarah has been invited to the BPS’s Annual Conference to be held in Brighton in May 2017 to receive her award.

Sarah’s award recognises her excellence in teaching, her contributions to teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students, supporting staff research projects, her advanced technical skills knowledge as well as her interactions with prospective students at Open Days where she demonstrates the state-of-the-art equipment housed in the £30 million Science Centre home to the Psychology Department. Sarah is also an active member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, home to Staffordshire University’s psychological research, and has previously won national prizes for her own research (click here for further details).

Judy David, Academic Group Lead for Psychology and one of the team who nominated Sarah for the award, commented:

“Psychology is so proud of Sarah, and we feel very lucky indeed to have her in our Technical Team.  The award is so richly deserved! Sarah works incredibly hard in teaching and supporting students and helping them learn new skills and knowledge. We are delighted this has been recognised with this prestigious award.  With two award winners now in our technical team, we know our students are getting the very best experience possible!”

Dr Amy Burton, Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology who was also part of the nominating team, said:

“Sarah is an irreplaceable member of the team having progressed from being an undergraduate student to MSc level and now actively contributing to our MSc Health Psychology. Sarah has shown a fantastic commitment to our students from assisting at open afternoons, giving applicants a taste of the equipment and inspiration on how it might be used, through to one-to-one tutorials facilitating the use of complex technical equipment.

In particular, Sarah plays an essential role in the learning and development of our MSc Health Psychology students and supports them to complete high quality, well-designed and innovative research using technology and equipment at the forefront of the discipline. Sarah fully deserves this award and we are very proud and lucky to have her as part of our team.”

Many congratulations to Sarah on her fine achievement!

Staffs-Uni-Hi-Res_45-1024x683The School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise at Staffordshire University is a leading School in the UK for Psychology degrees and is situated in the heart of England.  We produce internationally recognized research which is driving knowledge in this area forward and we work with a variety of healthcare providers, charities, international sports teams and private sector organisations.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details, and to book your place at an open day, please visit:

For more information or details of the wide range of Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit our website and our courses page.

Second Annual Undergraduate Psychology Conference a success!


Dr Louise Humphreys opening the Conference

The Psychology department at Staffordshire University held their annual conference for current final year students to present their research findings. The conference, held in the University’s Science Centre in March 2015, featured a series of talks by current students on their research projects and included an audience of psychology students and academic staff.

The conference offered current final year students valuable practice presenting their research, and also allowed first and second year psychology students to hear about some of the research conducted by their fellow students, something which will help with developing their ideas for their own final year projects. It was great to hear our current final year students provide some valuable feedback to other students about how to manage their own projects in the future. Further details of the talks given at the conference are below:

Emily Inwards: Attitudes towards asexuality and bisexuality in young adults


Emily Inwards

Emily started the conference with a great talk about her research exploring young adults’ attitudes towards two sexualities: asexuality and bisexuality.

Emily’s talk highlighted the subjective nature of these sexualities and presented her work in a very engaging and professional manner!


Tom Barker: Where do people look when they are telling lies?


Tom Barker

Tom gave an overview of his research in progress which is using the Psychology Department’s eye-tracking equipment to get a better understanding of individuals’ eye movements when they are lying.

Dr Louise Humphreys, Tom’s project supervisor, commented “I have been impressed with Tom throughout the whole supervision process. He is very enthusiastic about his project and this came across in his presentation. Tom is a very engaging speaker and I believe he will be successful in achieving his future aspiration of becoming a University Lecturer.”

Kizzy Moss: Experiences and perceptions of having a brother or sister with Down’s Syndrome


Kizzy Moss

Kizzy presented her interview project exploring the experiences of individuals with a sibling with Down ’s syndrome. Past research has focussed on parents’ perceptions whilst the perspectives of siblings have been overlooked. Kizzy used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to identify a number of key themes in relation to her participants’ experiences and included issues about children taking on high levels of responsibility and mothering roles for their siblings and a need for greater acknowledgement of the types of support needed by this group.

Dr Amy Burton, Kizzy’s project supervisor, commented: “Kizzy has been a great student to supervise, she is passionate about this area of research and this enthusiasm showed in the quality of Kizzy’s presentation at the conference”.

Cheryl Hyden: Perceived barriers and facilitators to accessing university counselling by university students


Cheryl Hyden

Cheryl presented some very interesting findings from an interview study conducted with students who had accessed on-campus counselling facilities at the university. One of the novel themes Cheryl found in her interview was the role of “self-barriers” in seeking counselling support. Cheryl’s research has particular implications for counselling research and practice, particularly in understanding the reasons why some students are not accessing counselling support when they are experiencing mental health difficulties.

Cheryl commented that “taking part in the psychology undergraduate conference really helped me focus my project write up and really helped me understand my research. The morning of the conference was very nerve wracking, but I enjoyed every minute of the presentation and my confidence grew as time went on. I seriously would recommend future third year students to take part in the conference, it looks good on your CV and give you vital practice in presentations! Also you can show off your research!.”

Dr Rob Dempsey, Cheryl’s project supervisor, commented: “I was very proud of Cheryl and I thought she did a great job in presenting her research at the conference. Cheryl has been a brilliant project student and has shown a massive amount of enthusiasm in her project work. Cheryl has produced what I feel is a very strong project which has clear applications to counselling practice and improving student well-being”.

Helen Jones: Visual processing in those with a fear of spiders

Helen presented her quantitative project on the visual processing of those with and without a fear of spiders. Helen based her study on a recent journal article that showed that participants with a phobia of spiders tended to overestimate the size of a spider that they previously observed. It was suggested in this article that the study should be replicated using a non-clinical sample, which is what Helen’s project did. Although Helen had not yet analysed her data it was predicted that the results would replicate previous findings (that spider fear results in an overestimation of spider size) in a non-clinical sample.


Helen Jones

Dr Louise Humphreys, Helen’s project supervisor, commented “Helen’s project is very interesting and she did a fantastic job of presenting her research. I was particularly impressed of her awareness of some of the methodological difficulties that can occur when conducting research. Helen was very confident throughout her presentation and the talk was very engaging.”


Lauren Crilly: Perceptions of anorexia nervosa


Lauren Crilly

Lauren presented her in-progress discourse analysis of how individuals with anorexia nervosa, one of a number of clinically recognised eating disorders, talk about their issues with food.

Lauren’s research took a particularly novel approach and analysed blog posts written by people with anorexia as they discussed their own condition and issues with food.


Aimee Page: Everyday life for adults with enteral feeding


Amiee Page

Amiee presented her qualitative investigation of the experiences of people living with an enteral feeding tube. Amiee’s work involved collecting interview and diary data from her participants and analysing this using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Amiee’s themes included issues relating to the value and danger of online information and support for this group. Her theme entitled “My choice or no choice” highlighted the challenging decisions people with enteral feeding need to make.

Dr Amy Burton, Amiee’s project supervisor, commented: “Amiee did a fantastic job presenting her work on the experiences of people living with an enteral feeding tube. Amiee’s project has resulted in some important learning points for health care practitioners and patients in an area that has attracted little research attention in the past. Amiee’s and the other presentations were fantastic and show how Level 6 Projects are a great opportunity to be original and create new and exciting knowledge in psychology!”

A very enjoyable conference – well done to all our presenters!

Dr Louise Humphreys, Level 6 Tutor and Conference Organiser, commented “I thoroughly enjoyed the student conference. I was very impressed with the students’ presentation skills and it was lovely to see how passionate they all are about their research. It was great to see such a range of topics and I feel that the students who attended will have gained some great ideas for their own third year projects”.

Judy David, Academic Group Leader for Psychology, commented: “The student conference was superb. The speakers were professional and confident and they did a fantastic job in explaining their project work.  Without exception they delivered interesting and inspiring talks, and the passion they feel for their own research was clearly evident.  I feel sure the students in the audience had lots of ideas for their own future projects, and the whole event left me feeling very proud of our great students.”

Well done to all our presenters!

For more details about the Courses in Psychology offered at Staffordshire University please click here.