Case study

Ex-gamer Daniel investigates streamers' mental wellbeing

Former professional gamer Daniel Lodge sees his undergraduate research into the mental health and wellbeing of online streamers as a stepping stone to a career in academia. Daniel carried out his research as part of our Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme (URSS). The scheme provides an opportunity for second-year students to carry out their own funded research and gain valuable experience.

Why the URSS?

Daniel was first interested in the URSS as an opportunity to practise methods of research and gain as much experience as possible in presenting findings at a conference. Daniel said: “As I desire to work in academia and be a Master of Forensic Psychology and all it encompasses, developing those skills was of high value to me. The URSS has enabled me to develop key skills needed in academia”.

Throughout the process of URSS, Daniel felt confident. He found that by taking part in the programme during the summer, he remained grounded and focused on his academic goals. “It is an exciting opportunity and I remain as excited now as I was when starting out”.

“The URSS is a fantastic chance for ambitious students to practise their skills and learn new skills for their future careers and prospects. The experience is also a great opportunity for the less confident student to get to grips with research, research design, writing, preparing and conducting research. And then...reporting it!”

Researching his past profession

Daniel is a former professional gamer and Twitch partner, who used to perform in arenas around the country and had many sponsorship deals. He soon realised that this profession wasn’t productive or beneficial to his mental health and wellbeing.

When the opportunity came up to conduct a research project, choosing the topic was easy for Daniel as it was something he had discussed with Dr Dean Fido, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology, previously - ‘Exploring experiences of mental health and well-being of Twitch partners’. The title Daniel chose encompassed all of his key interest areas.

He says: “I was intrigued as to why no research of the qualitative kind had been featured in journal form and I felt that if there was a window open, despite it not being a specialist interest of mine, it would be great to do some research and get the conversation going.”

The aim of Daniel’s research project was to ‘explore the lived experiences of mental health and well-being of content creators on the Twitch streaming platform’, as well as to investigate the impact Covid-19 lockdowns had on Twitch partners and their communities. 

Broadening knowledge further than degree level

Daniel has been guided by his supervisor, Robyn Mooney, Lecturer in Forensic Psychology, throughout the URSS process who has helped him feel settled with his research project. Robyn helped Daniel get to grips with software that he hadn’t yet learnt.

Daniel explains: “I have had to get familiar with programmes not yet used at Level 5, so it has been great having a supportive and competent supervisor with experience in this field to support my project design.”  

While Daniel’s research project is different to his degree focus (Forensic Psychology), he has appreciated being able to explore a range of topics and broaden his knowledge. He has valued the additional experience and perspective that the URSS has offered him. Daniel has also learnt about submitting ethics applications, developing conference posts and public speaking.

He says: “The URSS project overall has helped me prepare for my bachelor's thesis by allowing me to practise ethics submissions and conducting research. I feel more confident in my academic research ability because of the URSS project.”

Presenting his research

On 2 November 2022, Daniel took part in the URSS Conference, along with some of his fellow students who also joined the URSS with their own research topics. Daniel gave a presentation about his research project and his findings.

He says: "I found the URSS conference to be the culmination of a wonderful journey for me. I looked at pictures of me in my school uniform as a child, and then looked at pictures of me on the stage at the URSS conference, presenting my URSS research, and I felt a great sense of pride and achievement. I was flooded with grateful emotions.”

The URSS Conference gave Daniel the opportunity to show his research to an interested audience.

Daniel says: “I am so grateful that the opportunity to conduct research across the summer with my lecturers was an option I could have and one that I will always remember. The URSS experience from beginning to end was really enjoyable and academically perfect for me."

Watch Daniel's URSS Conference presentation: 'Exploring experiences of mental health and well-being of Twitch partners'