Suspicion Check

One of the most interesting parts of each lab session for my study is at the very end, when I perform a ‘suspicion check’. This simply means that I ask each participant what they believe the purpose of my study is based on their exposure to all of its elements. Given the broad range of computer tasks and survey questions, participants in my study absorb a lot of information in just under an hour, so it is no surprise (but still a relief) when they fail to read back to me my true research question.

So far, one participant has correctly guessed the purpose of my research, but I am not too worried because that was 1 out of 25, and the other 24 were far off in their conjectures. What I find particularly fascinating are those other 24 responses, and the similarities between them.

One of the computer tasks in my study is in total about 20 minutes, dominating the session in terms of time, so it makes sense to me that this element is strongest in participants’ minds after the study. The majority of participants suppose that my research question is specifically based around the appearance of that task. While that task is an important measure, there is more to my research than that alone; however, so long as participants continue to complete my study without accurately guessing my goal and having that effect impact their answers, I will be happy to hear a similar conclusion from future participants during my suspicion probe.