DisCo is an event managed by a dedicated team of PBS alumni with the aim of giving MSc students a platform to showcase their research.
Have you ever wondered what happens to your dissertation after you finally submit it? Of course, two professors will read through the document in detail, come up with your final grade and give you feedback, but then what? Unless you are one of the select few encouraged to publish your work in a journal, or lucky enough to find your calling throughout the process (on your way to pursue a PhD or career in your chosen field), there is a high likelihood that the dissertation you spend months working on will be forgotten in the depths of the university’s archive. For exactly this reason, Dorottya Svab, Sai Kalvapalle and I (Sarah Crom), three PBS alumni from the class of 2017, came up with DisCo, the London School of Economics and Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science’s very first MSc Dissertation Conference. Our vision is simple. Bring people together and give graduates the chance to share and discuss their research. Students are required to collect and analyse empirical data for their dissertations, so their insights are novel and learning valuable, both to academics and incoming students.
In 2017, with invaluable support from Professor Dr. Frédéric Basso, the PBS Department, and two of our classmates Grace Rahhal and María Zimbrón, we ran the first DisCo (read our blog post on DisCo 2017 here). Feedback was overwhelmingly positive – graduates were thrilled about the chance to present their work, current students were thankful for the guidance and inspiration, and all attendees were excited about the opportunity to network and connect to the PBS community. Naturally, we organized DisCo 2018. This time, with additional support from Maria Fei (class of 2018). On the afternoon of December 19, only two days before graduation, ten students across four MSc programmes (Organisational and Social Psychology, Social and Cultural Psychology, Social and Public Communication, and Psychology of Economic Life) presented their work. The half-day conference consisted of two parts with five speakers each, separated by a Q&A session, a coffee break and dissertation tips by LSE Life.
The speakers’ research topics were diverse and compelling. The first part ranged from the psychological implications of economic inequality, to dietary habits in the UK, job decisions in Brazil, climate change communication, and the health and well-being of Chinese people in the 21st century. In the second half, students talked about confronting racial prejudice, investigating social representations in Haiti, understanding parenting and digital media use, exploring the links between masculinity, emotions and suicide in Britain, and understanding social representations of human rights in the Philippines. The graduates talked about their research methods, their discoveries, their challenges and their learning along the way. Needless to say, there was something for everyone.
Dr. Frédéric Basso, who served as Conference Chair for the second year in a row, shared opening thoughts and closing remarks about the importance of establishing connections and dialogue between academic research and the ‘real world’, including insights into how DisCo supports the department’s vision. Not only did the conference enable captivating insights and discussion about some of society’s most pressing issues around the world, but it also opened up crucial conversations about the challenges of conducting academic research in psychology.
What else did we take away? LSE Life is a great resource for current students, offering workshops, events, and one-on-one advice to help you discover and develop your research skills, and DisCo alumni are happy to share their experiences and advice with anyone looking for further guidance on their dissertation journey.
Many thanks to all those involved in making DisCo 2018 a success! We are excited to announce that preparations for DisCo 2019 are underway and the event will take place again on 17 December 2019.