In the weeks since my last blog post, Dr. Gosnell and I have made several amendments to our original research plan. Currently, much of our time has been focused on a study we began in the Spring of 2018 which focused on the effects of interpersonal experience. During the “in lab” portion of this study two participants are invited to take an online survey assessing the participants initial mood. After the survey, the participants take part in two interactive conversations. The first conversation focuses on an impersonal topic, and the participants are expected to maintain the conversation for three minutes. The second conversation requires one of the participants to share a personal experience and for the second participant to relate to their partner, offering support or asking follow up questions. This conversation is then coded based upon the participant’s conversation; their world count, word choice and general participation are all accounted for.
This study serves as a basis for our Spring 2019 study. We are currently proposing a study based on the effects of support provision via social media, specifically Facebook. Similarly to our Spring & Fall study, students will have the opportunity to provide support “in the moment.” Where the new project differs is its focus on memory and retention of prior support that is both shared and received. Facebook, in addition to other social media, serves as an archive of shared information. Ultimately, Facebook serves as a sort of repository for information sharing and the exchange of support. This will allow us to track the effects of provisional support over a period of time, rather than just assessing the support provided during one, hypothetical conversation.
Dr. Gosnell and I communicate each day via email, meeting in person every few weeks to discuss progress made on the IRB proposal. This coming January Dr. Gosnell and I will meet weekly to narrow the focus of our study and enumerate the in-lab portion of the study. Thus far, communication has been one of the most necessary steps in making continuous progress in this study. We plan to continue to revitalize this study to incorporate any additional stimulus, while narrowing the scope to allow for a more concentrated area of focus and to accrue specific and valid information.