The automated factchecking project is split between two parts: scanning text and checking its validity. When I started it a few weeks ago, I intended to spend equal amounts of time on each. However, I started off in the first week using some very rudimentary programming tools, and it became clear that it would be much more worthwhile to explore new avenues and come up with new ideas in order to produce work that will be useful in the long term. And the long term is important, because I am kicking off something that will be built on in the coming years.
So after four weeks, today is my last day in the St John Ambulance office here in Bristol. This final week was all about writing my project report, which I have now completed and sent to my project supervisor for feedback on any changes that may need to be made.
My project looked at the duties/events covered by St John Ambulance and the types of injuries treated. It also looked at areas where volunteers wanted more training or felt the training they received could be improved. The results and findings have been included in my report (waiting for approval before attaching a link to it as the report contains some potentially confidential data).
As I moved into the second week of my internship, I finalised my preliminary research and sorted through the information I had collated to pick out the most relevant details and the points I definitely wanted to include in my report. This allowed me to begin building up a structure for my report and to decide the best order to present my findings in. It also highlighted some areas where more in depth research was needed or where different sources could be used for a new angle.
As well as choosing the most pertinent information, I also looked through the different models of solar lights available to choose which ones would be suitable alternatives for LED and therefore would be worth discussing.
I’ve just finished week 3 of my time at UCCF: The Christian Unions. The time has gone really quickly, but I felt like I’ve been able to accomplish a lot. Most of my input into the project has been completed now, the initial writings stages are well under way, and some testing has already been commissioned. However, not everything went exactly as per the original plan (as is the nature of project management). Whilst we originally expected all of the content to be ready and sent to print within the 4 weeks I was working there, that has turned out to be wildly wrong, and the plan is now to send it to print in November!
I’ve now reached the end of my second week with the British Neuroscience Association, and plan to take one week off before returning. I chose to schedule my internship in this way so I could maximise the number of survey responses, and it also gave me a chance to head back to London to see my friends (and also attend the infamous beer & cricket festival in my boyfriend’s village).
This week has really all been about sending off the surveys and reviewing the current marketing material. It sounds deceptively simple. As I had created surveys for three different demographics (undergrad, postgrad and potential associate members), I then had to build up an organised directory of “dissemination points”, or people/organisations that could distribute my survey for me.
It is the 28th of July, 2016 and it has now been two weeks since I started my internship at the Eden Project. At the start of my first week I had a plan about working on the Nuclear and Geothermal research for the Masterfile and also to keep researching new and emerging technologies’ on the side.
Between the 12th of July and now a lot has happened. At the start of the second week I spent two days on the ‘Welcome week’ meant for new volunteers and employees. This was very useful as it gave me more information the amazing stories behind how Eden came to exist, about what Eden was trying to do as an educational charity and how they were going about doing this.
It’s nearing the end of my third week at St. Anne’s, so it’s definitely time for another blog post. Before we dive into the details, I thought it might be a good idea to clarify some of the jargon I’ll be using throughout my posts.
A ‘client’ or ‘service user’ is someone who has come to St. Anne’s for any kind of assistance, from help with housing or substance abuse problems, to just wanting a shower and a hot meal. St. Anne’s has many different clients, but my project is focused on those who are ‘vulnerably housed’. This term is a bit foggy; it covers just about everything from street homeless (what we tend to think of when we hear the word homeless) to someone living in a hostel, right the way through to people who actually have their own tenancy.
Time has flown by and it’s hard to believe it’s nearly the end of the penultimate week! It’s been a promising week with significant progress having been made:
- I finished extracting the relevant data from DIPS for the fifth and final district within South West Region and plotted the graphs to present this. There is a lot of data that I’ve collated, so I need to consider how best to present my results when I start to write my report.
- The survey I created has been distributed via the South West Region mailing list with great results. After the slow response initially, I’ve now had over 100 responses, which is much more than I had anticipated!
Yesterday, following a fairly long (but mostly hassle-free) trip from my home in South London to the sunny seaside town of Paignton, I woke up early to start my internship training. The town, as per its namesake, is home to the Paignton Zoo & Environmental park as well as the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust. Established in 1959, the Trust operates in locations all over the UK, working for both domestic and international conservation goals. My two days of training was incredibly hectic and involved meeting a lot of new people alongside being told about a myriad of different aspects to the research project I will be joining in on.
My internship is at Full Fact, the UK’s independent factchecking organisation. Ahead of this year’s referendum, they worked with ITV and Sky News to correct factual errors made in live debates, and they have asked for and got corrections in all the national newspapers. They play an ever-growing role in the effort to hold the media and politicians accountable to their claims.
Many assertions made in public debate come up again and again, they call them “zombie claims” at Full Fact (because they just don’t die). Claims like ‘poverty increased in the past six months’ or ‘unemployment decreased last year’. Factcheckers spend valuable time finding and interpreting government data for poverty or unemployment every time new datasets are released.