The Brackenridge Reformed my Perspective on Research

The Brackenridge fellowship has given me the opportunity to dedicate a summer to research something that I am passionate about. After this experience, I am walking out with a better understanding of the trouble-shooting and the patience that is needed with conducting research.

Beginning the summer, my focus was to research how infants displayed gendered behavior and engagement with toys during free-play. As a control, I thought I would focus on a population of infants at 18- and 24- months who had a sibling of the opposite gender. My logic in this idea was to ideally assure that the child had better access to toys that were considered feminine and masculine. Half way through the fellowship, I encountered that I needed a larger population in order to have more credible results. I expanded my population to include infants with an older sibling of the same sex. I plan on looking to see if they are significantly different in behavior, but from my observations, I do not believe I see a major difference in behavior and toy engagement.

I have a very go-go-go personality. It was hard for me to learn what to do when work was in a stand-still. Sometimes, research requires waiting when I was waiting for people to check reliability on files or needed help creating a script to run my files. This is when I learned how to prioritize my tasks. I found it more efficient to finish tasks that I knew I needed people to check over first, and then, work on independent tasks like expanding the literary review or cleaning up files while I waited for help from others. This helped me understand the importance of how lab team members depend on each other to grow and continue progress on projects. Even though this was an independent project through my lab, a lot of mentorship and peer help was needed to work through this semester.

As the summer is coming to an end, I am taking all these lessons and experiences with me in my future academic endeavors. I have started to expand my project on infant gendered behavior and engagement by also looking at parental interactions. This is exciting for me to see if parents during free-play encourage certain behaviors or gendered preferences by handing or playing with specific toys.

Leave a Reply