Q&A with Yajing Zhu

Yajing is a PhD candidate in the Department of Statistics

Find out about Yajing's project, her advice for prospective students and her experience at LSE

Our departmental staff and the PhD community are super supportive - you can fully focus on research.
Researcher Yajing Zhu standing beside a notice board | LSE researcher
Yajing Zhu

What are you currently researching?

I am trying to establish a structural equation model that helps to understand the effects of childhood socioeconomic circumstances on adults’ mental and physical health. For example, are such effects long-lasting or partially mediated by situations in adulthood and over the course of life?  In this project, we work on a longitudinal dataset (generated from a 50-year cohort study) with complex structures, which is methodologically challenging. 

Why did you choose this area of study?

I am very interested in developing methodology in social science and also intrigued by the challenges this interdisciplinary area brings. Developing new methodologies can open up more channels to quantitatively test the hypotheses in qualitative research. Jointly, we can gain a better understanding of the social issues and have some insights on some of the research questions currently with mixed results. 

How will your research improve or have a wider impact on society?

Such methodological research could be beneficial both to the social scientists and potentially to policy makers who are interested in the important entry points to improve health in later life. Also, further generalisation of the proposed method could be easily adapted to answer different research questions in the social context.

What do you hope to do career-wise, long term?

I enjoy being a researcher, so staying in academia would be my first choice. I am also interested in opportunities in the pharmaceutical and consultancy industries that value research.

Can you provide any advice to prospective students about the most effective way to approach research and keep stress levels down?

Personally, I find discussing ideas with my supervisors very useful. In addition to that, curiosity and a genuine interest in the area of study can go a long way.

What resources are available at LSE to help young researchers?

Department-wise, in the social statistics sub group we have seminars and paper-reading sessions where we discuss ideas and learn from other researchers. Our departmental staff and the PhD community are super supportive - you can fully focus on research.

School-wise, we have the PhD Academy and good connections with other colleges of University of London, where you can take external courses and discuss issues with PhD students across universities.

In a few words, what is the best thing about studying at LSE?

The strength of research of faculty members, the supportive environment, super nice colleagues and loads of opportunities.