Doing the Thing (and lessons learned)

So far, I’ve run about 20 people through the protocol. I was chatting with a friend who also does research, and this is apparently a VERY fast pace. So that makes me happy!

I thought I would be bored by now, doing the same thing over and over, but I’m more excited every time! Some of the interviews are frustrating, watching people search for things in complete illogical ways, but I’m learning a lot. Some people have a lot to say and we get a lot of info; others are more random, hard to make sense of.

I know that I want to do more research in the future, and there are some things I learned in this project that will help me in the future:

  1. Know the timeline. I think a lot of what worked against me in people not responding was that we’re in the last month of the semester. Students are busy, music students are BUSY. And for my own sake, packing all of this into the end of the semester has not been easy. Next time, I’ll get the IRB application in much sooner.
  2. Do more pilot testing. I come up with new directions or ideas for interview questions a lot, but in order to maintain consistency, I try to stick to the script. I think that maybe if I had done more pilot testing, I could have realized those things sooner.
  3. Use a relational database. Keeping track of all the participants, demographic data, invites sent, etc. has been somewhat difficult because I’ve been using a flat Excel file with multiple tabs that all have to be updated. If I had a relational database, I could run queries to show only the data I needed at the time and have forms for input.

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