From Start to Finish: What Goes Into a Study -- Day 193

This series of posts is documenting the journey of my first first-author project, from the infancy of the research through publishing. I am highlighting the major checkpoints of the project — when things move forward or backward — rather than a daily update because that would seriously be boring. Just about all the content discussed will be directly related to the project I’m working on.

If you haven’t read the previous posts, check these out!
Day 1
Day 2 – 7
Day 27
Day 82
Day 145

Check out the next day, Day 197.

Day 193: Working experiment

This shouldn't be confused with successful experiment.

In the future, I do see myself using PsychoPy as opposed to E-Prime for creating experiments but I feel that I have to use the tools at my disposal -- especially the ones that my labs are paying for -- and show some sort of body of independent work before I start doing craaazy things with Python.

Regardless of software, my experiment has been tested and beta'd. I am ready for data collection. The official word will come from my PI. If she sees something that needs to be adjusted or changed, we'll make that change and then I should be given the green light.

Since IRB approval to now, I have had several volunteer research assistants who are really interested in experimental research. At the moment, there are 6 RAs who want to learn EEG methods and analyses and the other two grad students (Armen and Salif) who also would like to learn.

I didn't end up hitting my early January pilot data goal I mentioned in my last post, but a three week delay in the current scheme of things (over half a year now) is pretty good.

Also, holy crap! it's been over 6 months since the inception of this project!! That's crazy!!

On another note, it's grant season for both undergrads and NIH folk. One of my advisors has been locked away and is now asking me for things like Can you write just like... two sentences on these pilot data we have? My RAs have been given a 2-to-3 week deadline to figure out whether they will be here this summer. This is because grant proposals for summer undergraduate research assistantships are due in early March and I need at least three weeks with them to crank out good proposals. USU actually has a great undergraduate fund for research and it seemingly is underused and really just unknown to the UG population. More often than not, I have to tell prospective RAs YOU CAN GET MONEY FOR DOING THIS! MONEY!! And here in Logan, it's quite a bit of cash ($2000 for summer research; $1000 for research during the semester -- rent for a room in a house can be as low as $150/month).

I am privy to the issues of exploitation of students and research assistants, so I am trying pretty hard to guide these assistants towards money or towards projects they develop on their own (with my guidance). As a UG RA, I don't feel exploited as I contributed a lot to the development of the study I was on at the time. I felt like I had a huge say in what happened in that lab. So I want my RAs to have that same feeling. And hopefully I can get them some money along the way.

It seems as though I won't be attending SPSP this year. But I will be attending my friends' wedding in April!

As this project begins, I'm hoping to be able to release some things, most importantly the E-Prime file I'm using. I believe this project is a stepping stone towards a lot of other projects using the same paradigm, so I don't feel too bothered releasing the prototype version of my experiment.

Once we start on collection and run into "fun" things (bugs, issues, etc) I'll let everyone know. These posts should become a lot more frequent in the coming weeks.

Check out the next day, Day 197.

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