“Hello, my name is Zoe Trout, I’m a psychology student at William and Mary…”

Since my last post research has continued as it has been. I now have more experience soliciting participation over the phone than I ever thought I would, which it’s been an opportunity for me to grow.  Making phone calls to strangers at all, let alone asking for something, is far outside my comfort zone.  In the beginning, I followed a script exactly, hoping and praying for voicemails every time. I spoke with “live” parents about half the time and their attitude was a bit of a toss up; it’s amazing how many people have just had small surgery, gotten back from vacation, or just got home from work. Perhaps that frequency speaks to the busy urgency of American life.  Anyway, as I kept calling people I became more and more comfortable advertising the project and I grew to understand that negativity or annoyance wasn’t a reflection of me personally. This system has been effective (much more so than the school system recruitment) and different lab members have all been pitching in to collect data.  Though I’d considered having all the interviews completed by the start of the semester, it looks like data collection will run into the school year. At this point the process has become pretty streamlined and we’re just working to get as many participants as possible!

Coding Responses

While listening to all of the sound files was extremely time consuming (and kind of mind-numbing), coding proved to almost as bad. Since this was essentially a pilot study (i.e. we weren’t working off of much background and were using this to plan for further research), I had nothing to base the coding off of other than our raw data. After talking with my advisor, we decided to use 4 main categories – 1 = perfect, 2 = minor errors, 3 = major errors/unintelligible, and 4  = metathesis. The plan was to hone these categories down as I started listening to data so the coding would effectively summarize our data.

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Experiments to Experiments: Final Post

In long term experiments, sometimes it takes experiments to get to the start of new experiments. For my summer in lab, this was the case for much of the time. In my last blog post, I talked about the polymerizations of 11-aminoundecanoic acid. The sample of polymer with four regions pictured in that post has gone on to become a multi-month acid aging experiment. On the very last day of lab, one of my lab peers and I spent the afternoon preparing the acid solutions for this experiment. The samples of polymer will be aged in four different conditions — acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid and water, all in a 120C oven. To prepare the samples for aging in anaerobic conditions, argon was bubbled into the pressure tubes in which they aged for a minimum of 20 minutes.

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