My name is Emily Clark and I graduated Harper Adams University in July 2021 with a BSc (Hons) in Veterinary Nursing.
In my final year I had to carry out an Honours Research Project to gain the Honours degree. For most people, including myself this was quite overwhelming at the start.
I remember all of my classmates knew exactly what they wanted to research and to be honest I had no clue. It took a couple of weeks of research and thinking to realise what topic interested me. I also didn’t want to do a common topic that most other people would research.
I decided, eventually, on researching the topic of canine epilepsy and specifically if clients with epileptic dogs were sufficiently supported by their veterinary professionals. I felt this topic was unique, interesting and having a family member who owns an epileptic dog made me want to research the topic for them as well.
After choosing a topic it was then overwhelming of where to start, I had to plan, research, make two questionnaires for clients and veterinary professionals, analyse the results and write my 10,000-word project.
It was not an easy project to do and I definitely recommend forward planning and getting a head start, keep researching, making notes and also write down your references. Nothing is worse than losing where you got a reference from! I also made about 10 drafts of my Honours Research Project before I actually got to my final draft.
The cutting back on the word count felt horrible! I was 5000 words over the word limit and also had to remove some graphs. You feel as though you’re taking out key analysis or references but by doing so are actually making the work more concise and answering your research question better by only presenting data.
My experience from writing my Honours Research Project was difficult but rewarding. Not only have you just written a 10,000-word research project and answered some questions that veterinary professionals or clients may have on your topic but you can also progress even further and use the research to publish in an article or put in a poster to present at British Veterinary Nursing Association (BNVA) Bites.
I did exactly that, turned my research into an abstract and then a poster which was put into a competition at this year's BVNA congress and I WON!
I’m so pleased with my achievements since doing this project and graduating as a veterinary nurse. I continue to work hard and am now looking to publish my work in a veterinary nurse article/journal.
Prior to my final year I never thought I would want to do this much research, let alone have the successes I have achieved and so I hope it can inspire final year students at Harper Adams University to really work hard in their final year and with their Honours Research Project because it can take you far in the future!