NeurOx YPAG ‘Introduction to Research’ Training Day

Graphic showing a woman standing with a giant pencil and a laptop.

YPAG had its first in-person training day!

On Wednesday 10TH April, YPAG had our first introductory research day of 2024, held in the geography building in the University of Oxford. This exciting meeting was the first time the new members of the team got to join YPAG since the recruitment earlier in the year, so there were lots of new faces. Hosted by our YPAG leadership team and supported by an older YPAG member we offered insight into what kind of work we do and what opportunities members can get involved in.

Starting with some introductions and some lovely pastries we did some icebreakers to get to know everyone better. We shared facts about ourselves to get everyone mixed up and get to know each other. These activities got us all chatting and made everyone mix up from the many schools and areas of the UK they had travelled from. 

We had a presentation about the YPAG, from Lucienne, to introduce everyone to the group and what we do. We brainstormed in small groups what research means and how it takes place, and how we get involved as young people. We then got the opportunity to share back with the group and explain where we agreed or disagreed with other groups. We got shown some interesting projects throughout the day that we could become involved in, such as the Eco-flourishing project which Katrin presented to us. 

After learning about the research process, we split into two groups to explore the Eco-flourishing project more deeply. Both groups had very interesting discussions about whether plants have sentience, and also assumptions about different age people and their relationships with nature. We spoke about more important factors in research like bias and tried to form our first research question.  These activities were really great for getting our new YPAGers to work in teams and get to know each other’s interests and passions more. Different people brought their experiences from learning at school and elsewhere to make it a really diverse and intricate conversation- and sometimes debate!

Lastly, after lunch we split up into two groups to talk about two different research projects. One group discussed the Surprises project with conversation about social anxiety and mental health, and the other explored the ANTITHESIS project focussing on the benefit of disagreement.

In the ANTITHESIS project we discussed why disagreements are important and what disagreements were taking place in the media and the world more generally. We progressed this by talking about the word ‘radical’ and what it means to us and in disagreement theory. Each member of the group got to share their thoughts and come up with ideas of radical disagreements which might impact us in the future. This gave the opportunity for everyone to take part even if feeling a little shy and then create a timeline together with the research leads.

It was a really fun day getting to know what YPAG do and introducing our new members to research and what it means to be a part of such interesting projects. It was a great to see all the YPAG leadership in person too and a chance for everyone to get to know each other better. We are all looking forward to the next meeting as a new 2024 YPAG!