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Student Vacation Research Assistant: Exploring the ethical implications of the involvement of people affected by dementia in education and advocacy using film - Open to current University of Worcester students only*

Research Assistantships provide undergraduates and recent graduates with ‘hands on’ experience of working on a research project over the summer vacation, enabling them to gain insight into a research career, as well as enhancing their CV.


While it has become common to see health and social care service users directly involved in the training of health and social care professionals as well as in research, in the case of education for dementia care professionals there may be ethical and practical reasons that limit the direct involvement of persons with dementia. It has been suggested that concerns around ethics and the assumption that participation might be difficult for them, might further act to marginalise or disable persons with dementia who wish to contribute in this way (Capstick, 2012).

Audio-visual material is an acceptable substitute for the physical presence of an ‘expert by experience, which can enhance students’ skills of observation and empathy and encourage them to develop a broader perspective on individuals with dementia (Hope et al., 2007; Capstick, 2009). However, ethical concerns around the validity of the consent process for persons for whom it is not simple to determine capacity are likely to arise, particularly as a result of the lasting nature of audio-visual materials and because such materials might be copied or reproduced in ways that were not envisaged.

The Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) are working with a filmmaker to create a series of short films featuring members of the LINK Group (people with direct personal experience of dementia). These films will be used to raise awareness of the lived experience of dementia for care professionals and students involved in our training.

This provides an ideal opportunity to explore the ethical implications of the use of film for educational and advocacy purposes. It will allow us to consider the experience and views of carers and people with dementia who are being filmed as well as those of filmmakers and commissioners.

Research questions
1. What ethical concerns should we consider when sharing the stories of people with dementia and their carers on film for educational and advocacy purposes?
2. How do perspectives about ethics differ between commissioners, filmmakers and participants in this context?

In addressing these questions, we will explore 1. the views of people with direct personal experience of dementia involved in creating a film for professional development and advocacy on key ethical issues relating to film and their application in this context; and 2. barriers relating to the ethical process and the involvement of people with direct personal experience of dementia in the creation and dissemination of the films.

These aims will be achieved through:
• A scoping review of the literature
• A series of 30-minute audio-recorded semi-structured interviews with (1) 8-10 members of the LINK Group; (2) the film-maker; (3) the project manager
• Thematic analysis of transcribed interview data, used to inform focus groups
• Focus groups with members of ADS education team and the LINK Group
• Analysis of focus group data and final writing up

*Please note that this post is open only to students completing the penultimate or final year of an undergraduate degree (or equivalent) at the University of Worcester or partner institutions;
Students completing, or who have completed, an undergraduate degree at another university (with 1st or 2:1 predicted/achieved) who are about to commence postgraduate studies at the University of Worcester.

Closing date: Monday 05 Jun 2017

Reference number: STUVRA1707 - 2006

Job details

Job details

£8.44 per hour, plus £1.18 per hour holiday pay
Up to 37 hours per week
4 weeks full time (1.0 FTE) or part time equivalent (e.g. 8 weeks at 0.5 FTE)
Responsible to
Professor Dawn Brooker
Responsible for
Interview date

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The University of Worcester is funding 20 Vacation Research Assistantships for the summer of 2017. These Research Assistantships will provide undergraduates and recent graduates with ‘hands on’ experience of working on a research project over the summer vacation, enabling them to gain insight into a research career, as well as enhancing their CV. These are prestigious awards, marking out a student as a future researcher and potential academic. In addition, this scheme provides UW staff leading on a research project with invaluable support in taking the project forward and experience of supporting and developing a young researcher.
On completion of the project, the supervisor and student must complete a report providing the following information:
• Objectives set
• Objectives met
• Methods employed
• Results
• Conclusions
• Outputs
• Benefits to the student including training undertaken, skills developed, etc.

Main duties

Main duties

1. Preparing qualitative data and entering into NVivo software.
2. Assisting with qualitative data collection where appropriate (e.g. interviews and focus groups);
3. Helping with the preparation of written project reports.
4. Attending project meetings as required;
5. Taking part in additional activities that form part of the Association of Dementia Studies portfolio.

*Maintain personal and professional development to meet the changing demands of the job; participate in appropriate training activities and encourage and support staff in their development and training.

*Take steps to ensure and enhance personal health, safety and well being and that of other staff and students.

*Carry out these duties in a manner that promotes equality of opportunity and supports diversity and inclusion, and takes into account the University's commitment to environmentally sustainable ways of working.
Person specification

Person specification

Please provide evidence of how you meet each of the essential criteria.


1. Experience of a range of research tasks, including the analysis of qualitative data.

2. Ability to communicate confidently and effectively orally and in writing

3. A professional approach to contacts, both internal and external to the university.

4. Ability to deal with confidential and sensitive issues in a discreet, tactful and effective manner.

5. Attention to detail in producing accurate and well-presented documentation.

6. Ability to operate effectively under pressure and to be able to work flexibly and cope with interruption.

7. A high level of computer literacy, with the ability to utilise a variety of software.

8. To have a proactive and tenacious approach to work.


1. Experience of Nvivo qualitative data analysis software.

Applications from Non EEA Workers:

Prospective applicants are advised to ensure that they are eligible to work in the UK without restriction.

Prospective applicants in points-based system immigration routes should assess their circumstances against the published criteria, which are set out on the GOV.UK website at

Visit for more information on how you can use a qualification from outside the UK to meet the requirements of the immigration rules.

Unspent convictions, cautions and bind-overs

The University is strongly committed to the fair treatment of its staff and potential staff, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, responsibility for dependants, age, physical/mental disability or offending background.

In line with the University's policy on the Recruitment of People with a Criminal Record, shortlisted candidates are required to provide information of any unspent convictions, cautions and bind-overs. Applicants are advised to seek independent advice if there is any doubt about the status of a previous conviction, caution or bind-over. Disclosures will only be considered at the point when an offer of employment is made. The existence of a criminal record will not in itself prevent you from gaining employment.

This is a description of the job as it is presently constituted. This job description is intended to enable a flexible approach to be offered working across the University as required. It is subject to review and amendment in the light of changing needs of the University and to provide appropriate development opportunities. Members of staff are expected to participate fully in discussions about changing requirements and it is the University's aim to reach agreement to reasonable change. If agreement is not possible, it reserves the right to require changes to the job description after consultation with the individual concerned.

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