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Student’s final project wins national award

Richard Haines receiving his certificate for best dissertation of the year from Head of Sport and Exercise Science, Dr Richard Thelwell

Richard Haines receiving his certificate for best dissertation of the year from Head of Sport and Exercise Science, Dr Richard Thelwell

A University of Portsmouth student has won first prize in the Undergraduate Dissertation of the Year Award from the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES).

Richard Haines, 22, from Bristol,  is the fourth winner in five years from the University’s Department of Sport and Exercise Science.

Portsmouth’s continued presence in the hall of fame for research in this subject comes as no surprise to Dr Richard Thelwell, Head of the Sport and Exercise Science Department. He said research was fundamental to both the culture and day-to-day teaching and learning in the department.

Richard is now studying for his Master’s and said winning the top prize was a real boost to his confidence and his dream of becoming physiologist.

He said: “It’s been great to win, it has given me a lot more confidence in my work knowing that it can compete on that level with students from other universities around the country.

“I was really shocked to be honest, I didn’t expect it at all but I think it was probably down to the approach we took, using an alternative form of statistical analysis which many studies have not used which leads to doubts in the reliability of their results.”

As winner, Richard has been asked to present his research at an annual academic conference.

His supervisor Gemma Milligan said: “While Richard’s study was simple in design, it was the level of his statistical analysis that made this dissertation special. The tools used to assess validity and reliability are starting to receive greater importance within academic literature, but as yet are not widely used and Richard’s study is a good example of how this should be undertaken.

“The dissertation is the culmination of the three years’ study and reflects the hard work the students put in across their years with us.”

Richard is now working towards his Master’s in sport and exercise science.

He said: “I wanted to stay on and study a Master’s because I felt I needed something extra to give me an edge when I go on and apply for jobs. The Master’s in sports performance is also very applied and I think the experience I gain will be a great help once I leave university and hopefully go on to work with athletes.”

Other Portsmouth winners of the Undergraduate Dissertation of the Year Award include Aislinn D’Silva in 2011, Thomas O’Leary in 2010, and Helen Barrett in 2009. Research associate Heather Lunt won the Doctoral Dissertation of the Year Award in 2010.

BASES is the professional body for sport and exercise sciences in the UK and aims to promote excellence in the field through practice based on scientific evidence.

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