As a Lecturer of Sport at Burnley College on a range of FE and HE programmes and a sport science practitioner on the Elite Athlete Programme, Chris Kirk has always had a desire to improve his knowledge and applicable skills within his daily practice.
Chris decided to undertake a postgraduate qualification that would increase his understanding of more advanced methods and techniques within sports science, whilst also allowing him the opportunity to apply his learning to performance enhancement.
He commented: "The MSc (by Research) at UCLan provided the perfect balance of theoretical and practical studies, enabling me to utilise my existing undergraduate research methods and develop them to a much deeper level.
"Within my thesis - 'The Workload Demands of Mixed Martial Arts' - I was able to demonstrate the use of new technology alongside more traditional performance analysis techniques in the assessment of workload within a rapidly growing sport."
Whilst Chris found the process continuously challenging, he said it was made equally engaging by his tutor Dr Howard Hurst, whose guidance showed him how fulfilling and enriching research work could be.
"The tutor support continued throughout the programme of study, from fleshing out the experimental design to preparation for the final viva voce/examination - a valuable experience in the qualification which mirrors the peer review process vital to scientific research," said Chris.
"As well as attaining the final MSc degree, a key achievement for me was being able to rework parts of my thesis into two published, peer reviewed articles (click here and here to view).
"Completion of an MSc (by Research) is hard work and fraught with moments of frustration and difficulty, but it is also extremely rewarding and has awoken a passion in me for further research, both in the projects in which I'm currently involved and the future pursuit of a PhD.
"I fully recommend this degree course to anyone who has a desire to improve their own sport science research abilities, whilst also contributing to the knowledge base of the discipline."