The biggest challenge regarding my research is building a connection between my intellectual ideas, the empirical work that will test them and the individuals who are willing to share some of their time with me in this scientific endeavour.
Not only was I expecting something different from how I would acquire data but I was also trained to expect something different. During my 5th and last year at university, I did the mandatory internship in research in social cognition (mostly studies on impression formation and person perception).
I spent the year learning how to design experiments, collect data and analyse it. The contact with people (also known as “the participants” or “undergrads”) was minimal. I would put a couple of sheets up on the research board, all of them would sign up (they had to, for credits and all), I would collect the sheets, prepare the lab for 8 participants at a time, and spend the following week collecting data. Was hard work, from 9am until 5 pm, every hour new participants, repeated explanations of what they would do, handing out the questionnaires…But that was it regarding participant recruitment and interaction. After one week, all data would be collected and all I had to do was analyse it.
And for someone who was not so comfortable with human interaction, that was just about enough. However, that kind of work experience did not prepare me for the reality of research in the field I am tackling now. In fact, I suspect that many researchers will probably always avoid certain research areas because they involve a degree of engagement with the community that they just can’t deal with (or perhaps don’t know how to deal with).
I am glad I have a supervisory team that is incredibly experienced in building this bridge between research and communities that go beyond the undergraduate participant pool in the psychology department.
Of course, this means that things aren’t as straight forward for me as they used to be. I no longer am able to recruit participants by just posting a couple of sheets on a pre-designated area. But, on the other hand, my research will be filled with real-life experiences.
Although difficult to organize and even more difficult to recruit for, I believe research in Psychology should start taking in the challenge to develop empirical work within naturalistic settings, and pre-established communities. We should, at least, discuss the difficulties and challenges but also the opportunities it creates.
This blog is one of the ways in which I am trying to reach individuals that I wouldn’t have how to contact otherwise. I am trying to make the best of this incredible resource that is the internet to inform singers out there about my efforts towards scientific evidence on benefits of singing.
In this space I will post the ongoing studies and kindly request you to consider participating.
If you’d like to learn more or if you have any comments, please leave me a message here or email me.
Thank you! I look forward to hear from you!