Is having appointments with pharmacists at the doctors surgery a good idea? How easy is it to be distracted? Do you understand how many units are in alcohol? These are just a few of the questions researchers from the University of Nottingham are hoping to start finding the answers to at their ‘Café Connect’ event taking place at the Contemporary on 29-30th June.
This is the third time members of the public are being served a side of science with their coffee at Café Connect. The two day event provides a vital link between research and the real world, engaging the public in projects that could help improve lives.
A number of new research projects will be there this year including exploring the NHS’s idea of having clinical pharmacists in GP practices taking appointments with patients. Researchers want to find out what people’s experiences of their health services are to help evaluate this idea.
The alcohol research team also have a new project to investigate people’s knowledge of units in alchohol, this is building on previous research. Dr Katy Jones at the Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology is leading the research and said: ‘People told us when they poured their own drinks at home, they were confused about how many units were in the drinks they pour. It can be very confusing, particularly when dealing with different glass sizes. We have used this information to launch a brand new study called ‘pour your own drink’. This interactive task will be open to anyone aged over 18 and will invite people to ‘pour a drink for yourself or a guest at your home’. We’ll then be measuring the amount poured, and will be giving people measuring cups from Last Orders (part of Nottinghamshire’s Recovery Network) to help monitor alcohol units at home.”
Many of the activites are designed to be interactive and another new research theme for this year is to find out how well people of all ages ignore distraction. This computer based experiment will involve participants sorting coloured rectangles whilst ignoring distracting written and spoken words.
Professor of Psychology at the University of Nottingham, Ellen Townsend is one of the event organisers and says: “Research is is not possible without the invaluable input of volunteers to participate in our studies, so this event is very important for engaging with the public. People can pick and choose what they would like to be involved in and we know from feedback that many volunteers find taking part a very rewarding experience.
Our previous three Café Connect events proved really popular and we gained a lot of willing volunteers for our research projects that are being shaped by their input. So far the public has been involved in number of research studies including Calm about Cake where we wanted to find out people’s emotional responses to eating cake – interestingly we found that people who eat smaller portions had a more positive experience! Although the event is looking at serious research it is designed to be relaxed and fun.”
Other opportunities on the research ‘menu’ will be:
• Focus groups discussing eating problems to help shape future research to help with this – places are limited on this.
• A game to explore people’s attuitudes to giving to charity
• Search in natural images: Sometimes we can't find something, even though it’s right there in front of us. We want to know how best to help people locate the things they need, from keys, to more critical things like medical equipment
• Understanding how people handle conflict – using a deck of cards!
The research café project is led by Interact — a cross disciplinary team investigating many aspects of human behaviour and their consequences on health and wellbeing. It combines on campus research facilities with on the road events to enable researchers to investigate human behaviour in both controlled and real world environments. The café also provides opportunity for the public to engage at all stages of the research process.
The Research Café is running at Nottingham Contemporary on Weekday Cross in the City from 10am to 5pm on Thursday June 29 and Friday June 30. All activities are free and booking is not required.
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Notes to editors:
The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.
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