Newman students showcase research at CYPSY22 and European First Year Experience Conference

Updated on: 14/08/2017

Psychology students at Newman University in Birmingham have recently had the opportunity to present their research findings at the 22nd Annual CyberPsychology, CyberTherapy & Social Networking Conference (CYPSY22), the European First Year Experience Conference and also have another conference lined up for August.

Navpreet Johal was one student who presented her research findings at CYPSY22. Navpreet has been researching into ‘The newsworthiness of naked celebrities: A discursive psychological exploration of responsible journalism’.


Navpreet drew from 850 comments in an online discussion in a newspaper comment thread before analysing the data from a discursive psychological perspective, she explains that the findings indicated that internet users are shown to excuse themselves of responsibility for immoral actions through the mobilisation of three repertoires:  Neutralisation (the denial of wrong-doing), blame (attribution of responsibility to a third party), and inevitability (that digital data will necessarily end up in the public domain).  Navpreet concluded that moral responsibility for immoral act is discursively and collaboratively separated from the human actors, and instead imputed to the technology which facilitates the action.  Consequently, human actors may not be motivated to moderate their own online behaviours, as long as they are capable of assigning responsibility to another entity.


Alongside Navpreet, student Sophie Meakin was able to demonstrate her findings into her research topic: ‘How do students construct the nature of motivation?’ at the European First Year Experience Conference, 2017. Sophie has presented her findings a number of times beforehand.

Sophie used a quasi-experimental design for her research: 154 university students studying a variety of disserent academic disciplines completed the Academic Motivation Survey and the Self-Efficacy, Stress, and Academic Success in College surveys online.  Four students kept a diary for two weeks, recording how often, and for how long, they engaged in self-directed study.  Diaries were analysed using content analysis.  Interpretation of the student diary results was informed by the student’s academic self-efficacy score.  Sophie reported that the studies were Consistent with previous research; students were found to construct themselves as primarily extrinsically motivated.   

Next month Navpreet, Sophie and another psychology student studying at Newman, Suzette Condison, will be presenting at the British Psychological Society Social Psychology Section’s annual Conference, which is to be held in Leicester between 31st August and 1st September.


Navpreet will be presenting further research into online discussions of immoral actions, this time focussing on the (ir)responsibility of newspapers in reporting such behaviours. 


Sophie continues her research into student motivation, this time from a discursive psychological perspective.  Students’ accounts of their extrinsic motivation were shown not to be internally consistent.  Two extrinsic motivational repertoires were identified:  'Self-enhancement' referred to students desire to achieve set goals for themselves and 'Other-enhancement' referred to goals which would not benefit the students themselves, but rather would be of benefit to individuals related to the students.


Suzette will be presenting for the very first time on ‘Rhetoric’s of prejudice, colourism, and entitlement to resources concerning (im)migrants and refugees’.

The research for Suzette’s was approached from an inductive, social constuctionist perspective.  Eight aid organisation workers participated in semi-structured interviews and additional data was drawn from a 30 minute radio phone in on the topic of immigration.  A mixture of interviewer-elicited responses to semi-structured interview questions, and naturally occurring talk was used and the data was analysed from a discursive psychological perspective.  Suzette  concludes that the legitimacy a groups claim to resource entitlement is found to be based in part upon the diversity of languages spoken.  While a greater diversity of languages implies a greater need for resources (such as translation services), it also engenders a greater resentment of the allocation of those resources.  Furthermore, speakers were shown to base their resistance to immigration upon a shift in focus of the relevant outgroup.  Speakers opposing the allocation of resources to (im)migrants instead focus on a disadvantaged ingroup.

Newman encourages its students to become involved with research projects and  many of the teaching staff at the university are currently actively researching themselves, meaning that guidance and expertise can be passed on to students and inspire them to pursue their own research interests.

The students are hoping to have their research published and continue discussing and presenting on their interesting topics.

Navpreet and Sophie's research, and conference attendance was made possible by funding from Newman University's own Students as Academic Partners research scheme, headed by John Peters from the Academic Practice Unit. 

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