Over this semester we have made a lot of progress on our research. We started by finalizing the literature review and methodology portions of our paper and right now we are at the stage of gathering all the data. Right after getting the research approved by IRB two weeks ago I started interviewing students on the Pleasantville campus. It has been a great experience full of learning. Since this is the first time I conduct interviews at the beginning knowing how to remain neutral throughout the interview was a big challenge. However, by sticking to the questions that we have drafted and some practice, I have been able to learn some strategies to make sure the question I am asking are as neutral as possible.
Over the last few weeks, I have learned more than I thought. A very valuable lesson has been understanding how to get people to discuss topics that are usually avoided in social settings. Since our research is focused on identifying behaviors and perceptions towards community service and civic engagement, the role of politics and government plays is significant and usually avoided by people. For my surprise, all the students that I have interviewed have reacted in a very positive way and have been willing to share all their opinions very openly despite how strong they are.