The end of March is when we actually started running our study. Earlier in the spring semester we were finalizing our measures and participated in training to practice running the study. We also had to wait for some of the computers to be set up by IT since we were in a new lab space.
When finalizing our measures we came across some challenges. One of the tasks we had worked on preparing for our participants was included in the IRB but needed to be eliminated for the study. We had technological difficulties regarding this task. The task that was eliminated was supposed to be used as a measure of self-control for the participants. We did however have an alternate task to measure this. A downside to our secondary task is that there are other factors that can influence the measure (such as conscientiousness). However, the lab will continue to work on developing the initial measure of self-control for future work.
In regards to successes I believe that Dr. Gosnell and I were successful in coming up with topics for the participants to discuss with each other. Since the participants have two conversations, the first conversation really allows for the participants to get to know each other personally and academically, making the second conversation less awkward. Before running the study we tested the conversations amongst the research team and continued to revise and make changes where necessary to make sure that the conversations flowed more naturally.
So far, I have learned that conducting research is much harder than it looks. This was my first time ever assisting and conducting actual research, and it is very time consuming and it must be perfected in order to get the best results. Before coming into this project I had prior experience writing a research paper and conducting some research, which definitely helped me a lot in regards to this project. I was once someone that hated research and now after gaining the experience from this project, I feel like I may want to continue conducting research in my graduate studies.
Throughout this semester we have researched in depth similar studies in order to finalize our measures. We’ve been researching different dependent measure options, as well as different conversation options for participants. Since our participants will be having a conversation with each other we have researched different topics for them to discuss. I looked through previous measures such as self-esteem measures to determine what measures might be helpful to use during our survey part of the study.
As we approach next semester, we are still working on finalizing all of our documents for the study. These past couple of months I learned how to construct an IRB and what type of information goes into each section. These sections include, purpose of the study, characteristics of research participants, method of participant selection, methods and procedures applied to human subjects, risk to the subject, benefits, risk-benefit analysis, information intentionally withheld, informed consent, confidentiality, analysis of data, drugs used in the study, qualifications and experience of investigators and any personnel who will interact with subjects, and collaboration with other institutions or sponsors. The IRB is almost completely finished and ready to be submitted for review. Once everything is approved we will start having participants sign up so that they can come into the lab and complete the study. We are aiming to start collecting data at the end of January or beginning of February.
“The Effects of Positive and Negative Event Support Provision on Self-Control, Persistence, and Goal Pursuit,” is the set title of the research I am working on with Dr. Gosnell. The purpose of this study is to examine whether the provision of positive event support can increase an individual’s self-control and lead to greater persistence and goal pursuit. This research is following a prior daily diary study conducted by Dr. Gosnell.
In her prior work, Dr. Gosnell found that on days when individuals provided support to others for good things that happen to them, such as getting a good grade, being accepted for an internship, etc., these individuals would also make more progress towards their own personal goals. Our study aims to build on this initial finding to determine if manipulating the type of support provided can lead to changes in self-control and goal pursuit in a lab setting, which will allow for us to draw a more causal conclusion.
Participants will be Pace students recruited from psychology classes. The participants will come into the lab and participate in an interaction in which they will provide support for another’s event. After the support provision, participants will be asked to complete a measure of self-control and a series of questions to gauge their interest and motivation to pursue their own goals. Currently, we are doing background research to finalize our measures and prepare the study for IRB submission.