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James T. Neill research supervision

Key words[edit]

Positive psychology; Motivation and emotion; Environmental psychology; Social media; Educational psychology; Adventure therapy; Outdoor education

Some starting points[edit]

This page is mainly for prospective Honours and Masters in psychology research students. It suggests some possible project areas that I'm interested in, but feel free to generate your own ideas.

In the early stages, brainstorm without getting overly critical - one idea can lead to another - and a "bad" idea might lead to a "good" one. After brainstorming project idea, refine to 2 to 4. These ideas might be based purely on your own curiosities, but hopefully also on some previously conducted research. Also take some account of supervisors' areas of expertise and interest, in terms of the quality of support they can offer.

Then phrase your ideas as possible research questions. Doing this will push your thinking to the next level about how the idea might (or might not) work as a research project topic.

Doing all this will help to make for a healthy start for discussing with a supervisor in Week 1.

Also, learn more about the nature of an Honours/Masters psychology research thesis project - see notes here:

Some possible topic ideas[edit]

Here are some potential areas/ideas for projects, but you are also encouraged to your own ideas for discussion:

Educational psychology[edit]

  • Communities of practice in tertiary digital pedagogy (collaboration with Shyam Barr and Katie Ley) (MCP/PhD)
  • Anything related to the psychology of learning (e.g., motivations to cheat, experiential education, open education)

Environmental psychology[edit]

Motivation and emotion[edit]

  • Effects of mood on decision making and behaviour
  • Cognitions (e.g., associative and dissociative) whilst exercising
  • Other aspects of motivation and emotion (e.g., see motivation and emotion - this link goes to a 3rd year psychology unit which I teach).

Outdoor education and adventure therapy[edit]

  • Effects of experiential, challenge-based interventions on personal and social development
  • Adventure therapy and recividism: A meta-analytic and systematic review (MCP)


Positive psychology[edit]

  • Coping, coping effectiveness, stress, and psychological resilience
  • Grit and psychological capital
  • Psychological benefits of aversive psychological states (e.g., feeling sad/failing)
  • Psychological strength development (e.g., resilience, mental toughness, self-compassion)
  • Resilient psychological responses to failure/threat

Psychology teaching[edit]

  • Psychology teachers' barriers and enablers towards open teaching
  • Action research co-learning through undergraduate work-integrated learning placements in as well-being assistants in ACT colleges (MCP/PhD)
  • Development of psychological literacy in undergraduate psychology students (collaborate with Samantha Newell from Uni of Adelaide)
  • Teaching methods in psychology

Social media[edit]

  • MMORPG virtual cycling:
    • Sociomotivations
    • Local community
    • Effects of natural vs urban courses on psychological well-being
  • Motivations and satisfactions for self-tracking
  • Motivations for different types of technology use (e.g,. live streaming)
  • The mediating/moderating role of body image flexibility in mediating the effects of social media idealised body images on body image

Social psychology[edit]

Supervisory style[edit]

  1. I try to work in with students' needs/style - e.g., some students like to meet more often, others less so, some students prefer to do more work face to face, others more virtually.
  2. I try to find a balance between providing sufficient support/scaffolding and allowing independence, freedom, and personal responsibility.
  3. I am reasonably open about the exact topic - however, if it aligns with previous work I've been involved with, then I can provide more expert support.
  4. I have other work responsibilities, and so do you, but if we work together, a great experience and outcome is possible!

Example past theses[edit]