Lam Woo & Co Ltd Chair Professor of Applied Psychology
Professor Siu Oi Ling
The psychology of healthier lives and societies
Studying the drivers of road safety
Professor Siu is keen to attract high-calibre postgraduate students from around the globe to Lingnan’s RPG programme. A significant proportion of those who have already come to pursue their research at the university have been funded by the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme, which is considerably more generous than that provided under UGC terms.
Research areas worth focusing on
Professor Siu says she would encourage her PhD students to consider focusing on the mental health and well-being of young people and employees, and the counselling approaches that could be effective in alleviating their distress. She notes that a colleague of hers in the psychology department has studied the use of cognitive behavioural therapy to enhance mental health.
“One of my PhD students is looking at irrational beliefs, and the way in which these lead to negative emotions and to a deterioration in well-being.” This process is also of considerable interest to employers as it is likely to impact on workplace performance. The study will test the effectiveness of specific types of training in enhancing the participants’ well-being.
Advice for RPG students
Professor Siu suggests it’s unwise for postgraduate students to wait until they’ve read everything in the library before beginning to write. “For a PhD study they also have to narrow down to one specific topic. Over-ambition will lead to confusion and make it difficult to ever start.”
However, she adds, it is important they do read around their topic as this will help them in building the theoretical framework for the study. “With a good framework, you can successfully develop your hypotheses, collect your data and test them. This will contribute to theory development, which is important in its own right, but can also lead to publications.”
In addition, she urges RPG students to take an advanced statistics course, as the possession of such skills can have a considerable impact on the quality of their research work.
Finally, Professor Siu has one, more general, recommendation. “I also want to encourage them to work hard and play hard, as then they will find that life is not that hard.”