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With the end of her doctoral research in sight, Lorna Hobbs (UCL) braved a critical audience in the Nuffield Department for Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford today. She presented the findings from her ongoing thesis on the use of the internet to deliver interventions for sexual problems.

Providing online support for sexual problems

Lorna, who received a SPCR studentship in 2011, is on target to complete her research later this year and discussed the basis of her three study thesis. Her systematic review of interactive digital interventions (IDIs) was the first to be conducted in this area. Study two consisted of qualitative interviews to explore user perceptions of using IDIs for sexual problems. Finally, in study three, Lorna considered the potential reach and user characteristics of IDIs in a secondary data analysis of the most recent National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles.

Although she has presented her work orally within different departments at UCL and internationally via poster presentations, "this is the first time I’ve presented to researchers with differing stances/perspectives relating to research methodology. I thought the audience was critical but fair. The comments about the ‘usefulness’ of systematic  reviews were illuminating, and in my thesis I will definitely consider and comment on how the findings might have differed had I done a realist review as opposed to a systematic review. The lumping and splitting debate is something I’ve revisited several times throughout my PhD, and it was great that it came up at this seminar as it made me reflect on how I might strengthen my rationale for ‘lumping’ within my systematic review. In research, many times there are no right or wrong answers, and one of the challenges early career researchers face is finding our own voice, and knowing how to defend it well, while remaining open to new and different perspectives."

I thought the seminar was extremely useful; in terms of broadening my understanding of different research methods, and from the perspective of my viva. - Lorna Hobbs