For my project I’ve had to interact with the IRB and human subjects for the first time, and this experience has certainly been an eye-opener! The process of getting approval was more involved and lengthy than I expected it to be, so if I ever need to get approval again I will be sure to factor that time in to my schedule. It really came to my attention how little I knew about recruiting participants once I was able to begin that part of my project. I had to figure out the best way to reach out to people/groups. It was difficult to get a return on my outreach among student groups especially because it’s not during the school year, so a few groups I reached out to responded that they weren’t planning on sending anything out until late August. I gained a new respect for those in the social sciences and the research they do because of those hoops that I had to jump through.
Overall, my experience has been one that resulted in a lot of learning as I went both through the IRB approval process and recruitment drive as well as completing the actual project itself. I had never conducted interviews or tried to post them on a website, but I think both are great skills to have worked on. Even the communication that I had with potential participants helped me work on streamlining those interactions. Although I’m not sure that there was just one most valuable thing that I gained from the Brackenridge this summer, one of the top items would be the development I’ve been able to make on my writing, communication, and planning skills. It wasn’t just working on my project that improved those things, but it was also the workshops and guest speakers that gave me some great direction.
As I finish up this project I hope to build on the skills I mentioned above as well as a few more. For instance, for the conclusion of this project I had originally planned on just writing a standard, academic paper. However, as I talked more with my faculty advisor for this project, Dr. Nappi of the history department, she helped me to formulate a way to maintain the auditory nature of the interview portion: by creating a series of recordings (almost like a podcast) with each session covering one of the speeches in Plato’s Symposium (the source material for this project) as well as discussing how the content of the interviews relates to that particular speech. I think that this is a fitting way to bring everything I’ve worked on this summer together nicely, and it will allow me to try my hand at a different type of writing.