Week 4: Recruitment & Report

Prolific provides a database for recruiting participants who can be pre-screened to meet certain criteria that are required for your study. This week I have begun to recruit participants who are currently participating in my study whilst I begin to draft the first section of my report!

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Over the weekend I recruited 7 participants for my pilot study, which I was very pleased about as we had only hoped for around 5 participants in total! 

My participants have given me some really helpful feedback, so this morning I spent some time making some changes to my study and making notes of the feedback that I wanted to run past Dr De Bruin. I also checked through some of the conditions myself, as there are so many sentences it is easy to miss any slight mistakes. 

I also began to draft the methods section for my report. Dr De Bruin had sent me a report guidance paper from APA, which really helped me to structure all the information under the correct subheadings. I found this quite satisfying, A) because it reminded me how far I have come in the last 3 weeks, and B) because I found the methods much easier to draft compared to other reports I've written (based on someone else's research) as I know the study inside-out. 


Today I had my weekly meeting with Dr De Bruin and Naveen where we discussed the feedback from my pilot study, recruitment and my pre-registration form. I received really positive feedback overall which meant I only had a few minor edits to make to the study! I then made the counterbalanced conditions ahead of the real study, which simply involved switching around the reading and reading+questions tasks to account for order effects.

After that, I began to download the data from my pilot study. This was quite fiddly as I had been making changes to the conditions throughout the study so some participants had done different versions to others, meaning I had to download each participant's data separately. Once I had imported all the data into one file, I created a pivot table which allowed me to check basic data such as the 'count' and 'average' of each context in each condition. The averages looked quite promising as they appeared to confirm my hypotheses, however Dr De Bruin reminded me to take this with a pinch of salt as without more participants and proper statistical analyses no conclusions could be drawn. 

My final task of the day was to download the data from likeliness ratings, which are recorded separately to the other tasks. I imported each participant into a file and ran the same checks with the pivot table, which provided positive feedback that the pilot study had ran correctly! 

The second half of the week was filled with both good and bad news....

04.08.21- 06.08.21

Unfortunately on Wednesday things took a turn for the worse.... covid struck. I showed symptoms and tested positive that day, so I have been doing as much as I can with the little energy that I have (Thankfully I'm not as bad as I could be, so I'm just trying to carry on as best as I can). On the brighter side, my pre-registration form has been submitted and my study is up and running! Once I had drafted the pre-screening on Prolific, I began to gradually open up the study to both younger and older adults. I have been checking the data as it has been coming in and so far the results look really positive (despite a few hiccups on my part), so I'm looking forward to the analysis once we have a full set of participants. 

Hopefully next week I will be feeling better, so I will be able to keep up-to-date with my incoming results and begin to write up the methods section of my report! 

Pennie Haigh

Psychology Student , University of York

Hi! I'm Pennie, a BSc Psychology student at the University of York. My interests lie within language comprehension/production, and I'm excited to begin my research project which aims to assess whether sentence context and task influence age effects during language comprehension.