Lacking drive and being able to keep going has been a key struggle. If I don’t get enough sleep that also really throws off my day, as well, as I still try to get up early but then lose focus in my morning. This builds pressure as I beat myself up and then have great expectations of my productivity on consecutive days. I procrastinate during those times and feel terrible about myself if I am not productive every day. However, even in those lowest moments, I make myself wipe the slate clean. Start again. Sometimes several days in a row!
In regards to recruitment, whilst using things like Instagram and Call for Participants made me feel proactive it was mainly participant swaps that got me the number of participants I needed.
In regards to participant behaviour during the study, I noticed that people tend to tilt their heads a little bit, and I’m not sure if that would stop them from mentally rotating properly! I also thought that I may need to ignore the first block of trials that they do as they are still getting into the flow of it which made me realise that I should have definitly included practice trials! Oh well. I could not change this half way through.
It’s frustrating. I feel like an idiot. I used to be so good at the statistics stuff. Now I have realised for the second time that the way I have inputted my data into SPSS is wrong. At least this time it’s more copying and pasting than re-writing… Even so, I feel stupid. All the course materials (which are online courses, I might add, nothing in the compulsory modules) go into the tests and chart building and all that stuff, they don’t tell you how to input the data because I imagine it should be obvious. Caught between anger at myself for taking so long to get it right and anger at my uni for not teaching me anything useful.
There are some things you realise as you go along, that then seem blindingly obvious. For example, it dawned on me that participants sometimes took a while to get into the swing of the task and I was thinking to myself, “well, maybe we’ll have to disregard some of the data, the first block or something”. Then, I realised, it would have made bloody good sense to have had a practice block right at the beginning, which I obviously couldn’t introduce half way through the data collection. Duh. You live and you learn.
I’ve also been thinking that once I hit the 20 mark for participants (which should be tomorrow), I’ll then need to crack on with data analysis. I still know nothing. I don’t think I even know how to input the data, in a way that makes sense, into SPSS. The funny thing is that we were emailed today, asking for volunteers to do a promo video for the course and I was like, “I can’t do that, I am too negative!” because I haven’t learnt the one thing I wanted to learn: data analysis. I mean, the course is called research methods for crying out loud and the first research method I learnt was doing my research project at the end of the year… Okay, let’s tone the rant down a notch.
It is exciting that I have almost finished data collection with enough time to get everything else finished. At least I have another 5 weeks to go!
I have just finished testing my first participant of the day which is participant number seven overall, thus far. I actually haven’t set on a total number that I need, yet and will use today to do that. It’s crazy how fast the time is going now. Getting up to a month away from the deadline already! I am so eager to get a distinction, I just need to not mess this up. However, the last research project I did was a qualitative one at undergraduate so I think the marking may be much more stringent for the study I am doing… Anyway, I am enjoying it a lot. This is the part of my course I have enjoyed the most by far. I do need to keep on top of the writing though and brushing up on my data analysis skills.
The last few days have been a whirlwind and gone by very quickly. Means I finally feel busy and that progress is being made – a lot of it! But also gives me much less time to reflect and write. There have been so many little niggly things: getting the temperature of the water right, deciding on how many blocks of trials, introducing pain ratings, fixing the foot pedals, remembering that participants need to remove their jewellery and so on… When my supervisor came back from his break, it all just went up a gear! I am now ready to test people though and so the next challenge is recruitment. I have put out a lot of messages via others on Facebook, Instragram and I need to just try and get as many people as possible booked in for next week. Ideally I would love to have back to back participants next week and get like 40 participants but that is unrealistic! So it will probably continue into the week after. Meanwhile, I can write up my introduction and procedure properly, get my analysis skills up to scratch and start working on the other elements needed for submission. Every minute counts!
Anyway, this isn’t really much of reflection post but I thought I better write something whilst there is a lull in activitiy!
If you’re reading this and live in or near Nottingham, please check out www.callforparticipants.com/study/73DKK2 !
Slightly worried I am going to have to sacrifice going to UKYC (UK Christadelphian Conference) even though I have already paid for it as that’s right when I’ll need to be doing data collection. Needs must and all. I can live with it so I don’t need to let that stress me out.
What I need to be a bit more stressed about, however, is incorporating statistics revision into my daily routine and ensuring I back up my work regularly. I should also think about getting my supervisor to sign a supervision sheet but I keep forgetting about it.
As I had such a good, productive day on Monday, I can’t expect today to be exactly the same but I can trust in its ability to be a good day. Yesterday was a complete write off. I ended up watching a film (‘Before I Fall’, thank you, Netflix) in the middle of the day (!?). Late nights really do screw up everything! Get back on the waggon, missy.
I have learnt going to uni forces me to work, but I avoid it as I don’t like driving/spending money on petrol. Remembering to use my Pacifica app to keep me motivated should help, as well.
I’ve also learnt that attempting the full ethics application, as opposed to just the Chair Approval, has forced me to get on with making decisions and formulating a procedure. And today, we got the ethics application submitted! Wahoo! 🙂 Thought it would never happen :’)
So the Ethics application is much more lengthy and complicated than I had originally envisioned. Also, one of the neighbours is getting their front drive, no, front garden and front drive entirely redone which is involving a lot of drilling and is giving me a flipping headache.
I have completed a reasonable amount today. Would be good to stop expecting too much of myself.
The ethics application needs to be my main priority this week.
As an overall reflection of my work on this project so far, I have managed to focus on getting literature searches done without dragging it out or trying to open too many tabs whilst I’m doing it which has been a previous difficulty for me. As the literature snowballs quite naturally and I get recommendations from my supervisor as well, there was no point spending ages finding papers – especially as there’s no point finding loads if I don’t have time to read them!
Setting deadlines for things, such as meeting with RN, helps motivate me. It doesn’t matter too much if I miss these deadlines as it’s the pressure I need to keep the ball rolling.
I want to crack on with my literature review, especially with building a design for my project. That is straightforward as I know which papers I’m looking at to get started with it.
What’s less straightforward is the Ethics application. I didn’t realise how lengthy it is and how many steps are involved. Plus RN used some abbreviation in his email about it that I definitely do not understand – academics!
I still have my list of researcher skills I want to start on. Unlikely to get onto that today but maybe later this week. Or in lulls in my energy.
1. Set yourself DEADLINES
2. It will be difficult to get the Ethics done without a solid design based on the literature.
3. Start on researcher skills to break up other work, i.e. in mid-afternoon time.