Can anyone vaccinate against poorly informed decisions?


This is terrifying. This woman is the mother of two, and I have a strong suspicion she is not going to be vaccinating her children…

I really don’t know what to do >.<

I know I have no say in the matter, and I’ve tried to direct her to the evidence but… but..

Image result for facepalm meme



Recruiting Participants Online


Of all the elements of research, participant recruitment is by far my least favorite. I feel like a desperate bloody saleswoman, going around begging anyone I can get in contact with to do me a favor.  The thought makes me pull the picture face. Picture face sounds like “Nuh-Uh-hhh-hhffmm”.

So, I learned an important lesson this year. Online studies are not easier than lab-based studies. For some reason, I thought they would be. Last year I had to try and convince ~30 people to come and sit in a lab for about an hour and it was a nightmare. Constant no shows, really difficult to convince people to do it, it took a month or two.

But I thought, 130 participants online would be a piece of cake. I mean there’s an estimated 3.2 billion internet users world-wide, if 10% of them smoked that would be a potential participant pool of 320,000,000. After a month I have a grand total of 78.

But that’s not the problem. The problem is that out of 78 who have agreed to participate, only ~30 have started the survey and only 3 have completed it. The attrition is shocking.

The most reliable source of recruitment has been the University’s own SONA system. However I have found some other good recruitment sources I would like to share;

  1. is amazing. It’s a site where completing other people’s online studies moves your own up the ranking, and people are motivated to complete your study to move their own up the ranking. Of course it’s of a limited sample representativeness and there’s a limit to how many participants you can recruit due to the number of users the website currently has. But yes, five stars. Definitely one where its use will grow with users.
  2. Classifields- all of them. Literally all of them. I have posted on gumtree, fridayads, craigslist, reddit, various free online and local classifields and free-ads. Usually ending up in the community>volunteer section, its a great way to expand outside of the usual student population page.
  3. Social Media. The most numerically effective way of recruitment has actually just been to directly ask (via DM or PM) people on my friends/follow list if they’d like to participate or could send over the link to one friend who does smoke and might do.

But I think there’s one valuable thing I can share with you in hindsight. If you are a first year university student, start doing this now, because you will be oh so fucking grateful when you come to do your 2nd or 3rd year projects or your Masters/PhD. Create a fucking mailing list. I’m not sure how, you’ll have to be interesting, go to something interesting, but constantly collect the emails of people you meet/interact with somewhere safe so that when you need participants for your research you’ve got a list to call on. I mean, if it’s anything like facebook you’ll probably get ignored by most of them, but that’s all the more reason to get as many as you physically can.

Institutional Sexism in Academia.


Before you think you know what this is about, No. I am not moaning that women are under-represented in STEM- please read on.

I wanted to find a definition of ‘sexism’ to check these examples fit the bill, but it turns out the definitions of sexism are sexist themselves, i.e. (google definition)

“prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex. “sexism in language is an offensive reminder of the way the culture sees women”

Nonetheless, to my understanding sexism refers to the discrimination of a person based on their biological sex.

Right, now onto two examples I have recently come across (both sent directly to my uni email);

  1. A PhD offered exclusively to women. The University of Dundee is offering a PhD studentship exclusively to women. They simply state, “because of the nature of this research, only female candidates can be considered”. The research is on exiting commercial sexual exploitation. Yes it is a sensitive subject, but you are suggesting that only women can research this?! What is the basis of that? Are you suggesting only women can speak to other women about sensitive issues? That all women would prefer this? Is it based on some kind of evidence you didn’t feel the need to include in the advert? I have never in my life seen a PhD aimed exclusively at males and I know for a fact that all the femi-nazis would have that down in a second. Yet this is completely acceptable? PhD places are very limited, studentships are even rarer. A quick search on finds 44 psychology PhD studentships in the UK, that is not enough to start delegating some to only one gender.
  2. A career development program offered exclusively to women. “Sprint is the groundbreaking new development programme designed for undergraduate women of all ages, from all backgrounds and stages in their lives and study. ” well its obviously not that fucking open to all backgrounds and stages of lives if you’re excluded for having a penis. “Sprint is designed to develop female students to their fullest potential and address study and career issues.” Oh ok, what’s the group called to help develop male students then? Oh there isn’t one. Ok. So women get this advantage over men because… sexism?


Its disgusting. You can’t create equality by creating unequal opportunities. How are men supposed to respect women when institutions are favoring women to this degree? When I get a position I want it to be because I am the best, not because females are under-represented in the field and they want to boost the numbers. That’s how we end up with fucking idiots in positions they really shouldn’t be in.

With academic institutions supporting programs like Sprint how can I trust that my achievements are my own?

Whilst I’m on the subject of inequality, I worked very hard throughout my undergraduate to achieve a 1st for one simple reason. If you got a 1st and then did your Master’s at the University of Exeter, you got a £5,000 scholarship. So I hit that threshold, was ecstatic to qualify for this so I could pay my fees. Enrollment comes around and I find they have changed the excellence scholarship to apply to international students. So I am £5,000 down just because I was born in England? Fucking discrimination.

Feel free to share any other examples you’ve come across of institutionalized sexism or racism, especially if it targets the normally ‘non-marginalised’ groups.