Back home – but not quite done with research

Like most of the students living on campus this summer, I’ve now moved back home for a couple weeks before the semester starts up again.  Though I’m back home, my research is not done yet.

Through the summer, I’ve been working on the PRL annotated bibliography.  It’s a collection of all the articles that previous PRL researchers have decided were relevant to our research (and right now includes over 100 articles).  Though most of the information for these articles have been put into the database, there are some that were flagged for further consideration and some that needed to be expanded upon.  For a couple weeks I worked on cleaning up the database, and now I’ve moved onto a different database project – a literature review analysis.

To form the literature review, I pulled articles from the annotated bib that I thought were especially pertinent to the specific areas of mental health that we’re interested in (depression, anxiety/stress, attention, socialization, etc).  Recently, I’ve been digging even deeper into these articles and have been pulling out details of the environments these studies were conducted in.  In this analysis, I list specific characteristics of these environments and list the results from the studies next to them.  The idea for this is to be able to isolate which features of an environment have the most impact on mental health.  For instance, if 9 studies mention that birds were present in studies involving decreases in anxiety, than we can venture to say that birds may help reduce anxiety symptoms (though this is a purely hypothetical example; birds are having a turf war outside my window now and I can say with certainty they are not lessening my anxiety).  This analysis is being created to help the PRL form a study to be conducted at some point during the next year or so.