So what about Zahid Raja? Well, I have recently completed my postgraduate degree at Swansea University and will be graduating in Summer 2016. I studied for an MSc in Social Research Methods. It’s one of the only courses in the UK to be accredited by the Economic Research Social Council of Great Britain. I have successfully completed the taught components of my course and I recently submitted my thesis.
About Zahid Raja’s thesis.
I was essentially looking at electronic cigarettes. I surveyed policy makers and their support staff to see how they feel about the use of electronic cigarettes and how they should be regulated. I built my own CRM using Microsoft Access and mined over 1400 websites to build a database of perspective participants. I then used a mixture of emails and phone calls to turn prospects into participants. It was obvious from the start that I couldn’t use survey monkey for the research project as the platform would make the research project look amateurish so I utilised an open source survey platform to develop a custom solution that met the needs of my project. I also built a participant-facing website that held all of the information about the research project. Check out the website here.
Whilst I was studying the taught part of my degree, I worked over two pharmacy branches trying to understand a few things about medicines and how they are regulated in an open marketplace. I wanted to firstly understand how they are sold and secondly what the patient journey looks like when they are given nicotine replacement therapy on the NHS. The job was incredibly valuable to give my research project practical context and I made some pretty amazing friends – you can see some of our moments here in my blog.
Before Zahid Raja’s postgraduate degree.
Before my postgraduate degree, I worked at Swansea University for two years as a sabbatical officer. They are kind of like industrial placement years which you can do either in the middle or at the end of your degree. My role largely involved learning and using quality assurance and enhancement in Higher Eduaction to improve the student experiene. This meant working closely with students and staff throughout the University. As Higher Education exists in a competative marketplace, another large aspect of the role included making sure students and staff were focused on improving our position in the University league tables. You can find out more about what I did in those roles here and of course on linked in.