From this experience, I have learned so much about conflict management, time management, quick adjustments, and interpersonal communication. Conflict management and time management have come a lot from learning how to navigate our Survey’s software. Learning the interworkings of the software’s intricate details and functions took some time and did leave me frustarted at times. However, taking on this new skill allowed me to set time aside for solely learning about the program, Qualtrics, which allowed better time management skills to enter my life. In addition, conflict management skills arose from this as well. Learning the software allowed me to improve my troubleshooting skills and try things myself before I escalate and ask for assistance. I learned how to quickly adjust and reconfigure nearly finished projects due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Although very unfortunate, it allowed me the opportunity to learn how to communicate with others while being on a stringent, robust timeline.
My learning outcomes, research summary, and accomplishments have been stretched thin, being that I have been unable to gather any data yet due to COVID-19. However, from what this research has allowed me to be involved in, my research summary consists of figuring out if how individuals express gratitude to their loved one, specifically if they do it to just make themselves feel better or make their loved one feel better, has any affect on their relationship with them. My assumed learning outcome from this would be that yes, I am expecting those who overexpress their emotions for a certain, internal motive would impact the relationship in a negative way. Some of my accomplishments would be responding promptly to my mentor and learning more about how research in the field of Psychology takes place.
Overall, this experience has been truly so enriching and impactful. I learned so much about myself, and what I actually want to do as a career. Before coming into this program, I was unsure of my potential and where my skills could be useful. Now coming to the program’s end, I have figured out that I want to pursue a career as a Forensic Psychologist. As mentioned previously, the problem-solving process was something that was frustrating at first as learning the new software took time. However, each day when I familiarized myself with it more, it became easier. I asked questions when I needed to and appreciated my mentor’s action of allowing me a lot of independent work so I could gain valuable experience. The initiative I needed for this project was constant. I was always checking on the study, making sure all corrections were made and everything was how it was supposed to be. This would be a daily occurrence without reminders most times, so the initiative involved was of high capacity. As for communication with my faculty mentor, it is constant. Each day, we exchange multiple emails back and forth regarding our research’s stance, complications, and its next stages. The teamwork and collaboration with my faculty mentor that was needed to conduct our research was daily communication via email, transparency with changes we made to the study and what we think would look/feel best for the study’s format, deliberation on which questions we felt were necessary to put in the study and how they would translate to participants and also considering the emotional circumstances that our participants may be experiencing due to COVID-19 at this time.
As for our progress for our research, our IRB proposal finally got approved. This means we can move forward in the study process and actually start conducting it. As for other progress, we have our dialogue scripts written, our study facilitators trained, both surveys completed and checked for errors and our measures finalized. Thus, we are completely done with preparation and will now be moving into the stage of actually conducting the study sessions and acquiring data.
The problem-solving process had a lot to do with learning how to work the software and hardware systems. This includes learning how to use the survey website and external lab equipment. However, the process has consisted of constantly asking questions when I am unsure whole also taking the initiative to figure things out for myself when I need to. This then transitions into the initiative portion of my project, where I have found that my initiative has really taken its form in suggestions and opinions. Meaning, always coming up with new ideas on how to improve the study and pitching them to my faculty mentor. Communication with my faculty mentor has been constant and very successful in that we are both working well with each other and find common ground with each change in the study process. This then goes hand-in-hand with the teamwork and collaboration aspect of this project, in that for our dynamic my faculty mentor has me try things first, and then comes in and helps me tweak things with her experience and advice.
A definite challenge I have had is working the time commitment of this study into my schedule. It was definitely an adjustment and took time as well as several rounds of trial and error. However, I finally feel confident in how I am balancing its time commitment with my other responsibilities. Therefore, that is also one of my successes in addition to the success of the Institutional Review Board not having any corrections for us to make to our study.
So far, I have learned the interworkings of running studies and how to maximize your time while waiting for approval to run the actual study. This includes getting all of the backend work done – doing and checking surveys, completing scales for how data will be measured, training other people to run the study, etc. Therefore, all effective tactics in running studies and definitely something I have learned from the project thus far.
For this research project, I and Dr.Gosnell have made monumental progress. That is, completing our IRB and sending it in for approval to receive permission to run the study. As for the problem-solving process, I was challenged in trying to learn the format for an IRB and how to find reputable measures to include in the IRB to receive approval. Dr. Gosnell did grant me a very generous amount of initiative in creating the IRB and gathering the necessary resources for it. Therefore, I do believe the problem-solving process, the initiative needed for this project, the communication and teamwork/collaboration with my faculty member all go hand-in-hand. This is because each Thursday Professor Gosnell and I would meet to discuss revisions for the IRB, what it had enough if, what it is lacking, and the educational resources I need to make it better. Therefore, Dr. Gosnell acted as a significant problem solver in the behind the scenes work that went into making the IRB, as well as allowed for many initiatives in granting me the freedom to draft the IRB up.
As for insight and reflection into the data I obtained, it all stems from gathering the different types of questionnaire scales needed in the IRB. I used Google Scholar and PSYCHINFO for a lot of the data I obtained, for which I then learned how to decipher if a scale is reputable and valid to use for research purposes. From the data I collected, the only questions that I have raised would be how exactly are the scales we chose going to play out in the facilitation of our research, and how are our participants going to respond to them? Will they be truthful, deceitful, etc.?
The research project that I and Dr. Courtney Gosnell are conducting for the Pace Undergraduate Student & Faculty Research Program is entitled: The Effects of Positive Emotion Overexpression Based on Underlying Motives. The purpose of our research project is to start the conversation around emotion regulation, specifically positive emotions, as not a lot of research has been done on the topic as of currently. Our other purpose in conducting this research is to figure out how, why, and when individuals regulate their positive emotions. Specifically, dissecting whether or not overexpression of our positive emotions in everyday relationships may be less harmful if our motive behind doing so is to help our partners. This is being compared to overexpressing our emotions for motives related to our personal gain.
Therefore, the goal of this project is also to begin a conversation around our chosen topic, in addition to either proving or disproving our expected theory and outcome. The objective we want to complete to achieve these goals is to gather a random sample of people to participate. Ideally, these participants would be taken from the Introduction to Psychology courses that are required for every first-year student to take. Then, we would need to submit an application to the Institutional Review Board so we can gain approval to start our research. We would also have to let the Psychology Department know about our plans to use the Behavioral Lab and create timeslots on Pace University’s research site, SONA. Another objective we have would be to create a timeline for how long we want these research sessions to last in addition to getting together all necessary files and people. This would include but not limited to: consent forms, research assistants to facilitate the study, instructions to give out to the participants to follow and formulate post-experiment questions.
From this project, I expect to learn how and why people overexpress their positive emotions and how it relates to their motives for doing so. Also, I plan on learning how to craft professional, academic research and the interworkings that go into it. This includes creating an IRB proposal, gathering study measures, and how to dissect research once it is collected. With that being, the methods that we will be using to answer our research question is making use of SONA to regulate study sign-up times, have participants make a video asking them to express three different levels of positive emotions as if they were sending the video to a loved one. Lastly, then using Qualtrics to assess how the participants felt the activity made them feel.