ESCoE Research Associate, Charlotte Meng, supervised two A-level students from the Nuffield Future Researchers programme during summer 2020.
Run by the Nuffield Foundation, from July to September 2020 the Nuffield Future Researchers programme engaged A-level students in on-line academic research projects, equipping students with new research and professional skills, and providing guidance and support for their future career choices. The programme is helping to bring young people into the research community and its encouragement of the next generation of economists aligns closely with our aims at ESCoE.
As one of the programme’s project supervisors, Charlotte mentored two students who participated in the ESCoE project ‘COVID-19: Measuring the effects of Covid-19 on businesses and the UK economy’, funded by UK Research and Innovation. In part of this project the aim is to gather timely information on UK business responses to COVID-19 using big data and text mining. The students worked with ESCoE on the project to validate a dataset we obtained from public information sources such as company websites and newspapers. Through successfully completing the task the students gained an understanding about the emerging usage of innovative data sources for economic measurement, and the importance of data validation for reliable quantitative research.
The supervisions were necessarily conducted online (due to the COVID-19 restrictions), and Charlotte provided daily meetings with the students to facilitate communication, as well as a number of lengthier research discussions. These discussions were designed to introduce the students to the key research contexts. Charlotte covered:
- stages in the development of a research project
- the development of this ESCoE project and related papers
- the data collection strategy
- the importance of data validation for quantitative analysis and how to validate data in this project.
In the daily meetings Charlotte provided students with feedback about their ongoing work and direction to help them progress.
When the programme ended, both students completed the written research report and poster to summarise and communicate their research, as required by the Nuffield Foundation.
We were delighted to have been able to support the programme.
Reflecting on their experience, one of Charlotte’s students wrote:
“I thoroughly enjoyed my 4-week placement with ESCoE and it has instilled in me renewed passion to pursue a career in Economics as well as discovering an interest in data science during my work on the Covid corporate tracker. This project gave me my first taste of real scientific research and allowed me to begin to understand the world of data science. I was able to learn how scientific reports are structured and what they are used for in scientific communities. I would like to thank ESCoE for accepting me to the placement and Charlotte Meng for supervising.”