Skip to content Skip to menu

A week in the life of a SCALES PhD student - Lydia Yeomans

Hello! I wanted to take you through what a typical week is like as a PhD student on the Surrey Communication and Language in Education (SCALES) project. However, in research there is no such thing as a typical week!

My PhD project is focused on answering the question ‘What percentage of pupil premium children (those from low-income families) and children from less advantaged backgrounds generally have Developmental Language Disorder?’. As well as this, I hope to look at the mental health outcomes of this group of children as they transition into secondary school.

I am currently working on a Systematic Review, which is a method used to gather information from every single paper and article available on a topic to try to answer a specific question. I am hoping to gather information from all existing research to determine how many children from lower socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds have a language disorder.

A systematic review involves searching through thousands of research papers to try and find good quality research that can help answer a specific question, whilst identifying and getting rid of studies that are on something completely different (SES is also a South Korean girl band!). I will then gather the relevant information together to try to answer my question. I plan to write another blog post when I have finished this, so I will update you on my findings!

This week myself and the SCALES team are in Charney Basset, a beautiful old manor house in Oxfordshire, working very hard to try and do as much writing work as possible. So far I have managed to finish the plan for my review paper which I am pleased with, and later in the day I will be leading a team yoga class (work life balance hey).

The SCALES team hard at work.

Two days a week I teach undergraduate students on the UCL Psychology and Language sciences course, which means I get to have interesting discussions on a wide range of topics whilst trying to encourage the students to become brilliant researchers. It is great to work with a diverse group of students who have lots of different interests and insights – perhaps they will be the SCALES team of the future!

This weekend SCALES also took part in the ESRC festival of social science. Sarah, Laura and Jess organised some fantastic activities for families on the theme of ‘Words for Wellbeing’ at The Lightbox in Surrey. The aim of the day was to help people to understand how important language is for expressing yourself and for your mental health, based on our research findings. It was great to see some of our SCALES children come along and show their parents what we have been working on together. We also invited the Oxford BOLD team along who were showing us how our brain responds to language. It was a fantastic and successful day that we hope to do again in the future!

Then finally, when I have some free time I enjoy catching up with my friends and family, going out to explore south London or taking a trip to the countryside.


Resetting our minds with some Yoga at Charney Manor