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PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCH PARTICIPATION REFLECTION PAPER Goal: To evaluate the overall experience of participating in different kinds of experiments the UP Psychology Department has to offer. Process: During the start of the semester, it was already hinted upon us that we are encouraged to participate in various experiments throughout the four months we’re taking up this elective. I was really excited that I started to imagine what my participation experiences would be. Don’t judge me- I’ve never been to any experiments before so I started envisioning mixed scenarios combined from what I’ve seen on television, series, and the Internet. Some of my imaginations included: Will I experience the same treatment given to lab rats? Will I receive some amazing goodies after the experiments? Will my life forever be changed after going through these experiments? Of course, these were expectations based on the media I am frequently exposed to and even though I knew these weren’t 100% realistic, nonetheless, they made me feel more excited to do this activity. Also, I didn’t ask friends who took up Psych 101 before anything so as not to spoil whatever surprise I am about to receive. What a better way to finally answer all my hunches than to stop imagining and start taking action. To PHAN 3rd floor off I go and surprisingly, a battle welcomed me. Signing up for experiment slots was literally comparable to going to Divisoria during Christmas Season. Everyone was squishing each other to make their way to the bulletin board. At first, I was still patient and was waiting for the chaos to settle down but when 10 minutes has passed and the situation remained unchanged, I decided to put on my game face on and joined in the battle. I formulated a system for choosing which experiments to join in:
1. Scan through the titles- Of course, I wanted to join experiments that are interesting and as much as possible, those that cover different topics. 2. Check the date- I wanted to make sure that the dates I’m participating in experiments aren’t chaotic. I easily get stressed so if I have a lot of things to do in a particular day, I might not be in the perfect state (both mentally and emotionally) to join in these experiments. 3. Check the time slots available- I didn’t want to hoard the signups then cancel last minute if I’m not available. I didn’t want to give those experimenters headaches they don’t deserve. 4. Sign up- After signing up, I immediately took note of the schedules on my planner as to remind me not to miss these commitments. Outcome:
The much awaited experiment adventures finally arrived. All in all, I did 17 different researches with a wide array of topics ranging from about oneself (MAPA, Lift Satisfaction), to topics about family (My Family and I, Pagmamahal), and even tackled issues of the society (Social Justice, Social Ladder)! I felt amazed with the variety of topics I was exposed to during the short period of time. Initially, I just experienced two different methods of research: online survey through questionnaire and on- site survey through questionnaire. Since I felt that these kinds of experiments are too “normal” and felt that I wasn’t able to maximize the opportunity given to me, I went proactive and signed up for two more researches (even though I already exceeded the required number of hours) to participate in experiments that used the observation method. To summarize, I participated in 7 online surveys, 8 onsite surveys, and 2 observational experiments. Insight: A. Methodology 1. My favorite experiment would be the “Blind Date”. I found it interesting since it was not the typical questionnaire survey type of research I’ve always participated in. Here, I was blindfolded and led to a room where I, together with another person, were tasked to engage in a discussion based on the topic the researchers would give. All throughout the conversation, distractions were triggered such as someone “psst-ing” from time to time. The main goal of the experiment was to gauge how distractions may affect the memory and concentration of a person. Throughout the research, I realized that not only should the researchers be very knowledgeable on the topic of their experiment is dwelling on but they should also have the appropriate skills to conduct one. I’m a very observant person so I easily notice any sneaky deeds. For example, even though I was blindfolded, I easily noticed that the “person” who was “psst-ing” all throughout the discussion was actually just a recording played through a laptop. Knowing this, I immediately dismissed this distraction and I believe, this might have actually affected the result of my performance in one way or another. Simply said, the researchers should allot equal effort as they have applied in their study as to the act of choosing who to conduct these kinds of live experiments. 2. The online survey was indeed easier to access and less hassle to get a slot to participate in. However, it also has a lot of disadvantages that made me think how accurate are these studies actually? Since the surveys are too long, I personally think that at some point, a lot of people eventually just did a “shot gun” method of answering since they just want to finish the form. Upon doing mine and observing my friends accomplish their survey, people tend to not fully understand and absorb the questions and just move on and answer the questionnaire half mindedly, eliciting answers that are not actually carefully thought of. B. Questions Since majority of the experiments that I’ve participated in are in survey form, I actually asked myself if this type of experiment is indeed effective. To answer this, I made an effort to analyze the kinds of questions that were presented to me and here are some observations I made: 1. In my personal opinion, the way majority of the questions were asked were too straightforward in the sense that they actually trigger the social desirability in me. I’m not sure if this is the already the
right and best way of asking but personally, I would appreciate questions that would make me answer honestly and not give me that feeling of “I need to answer this correctly” instead of “I need to answer this honestly”. I’m not asking for the questions to be blurry (because that would be worse) but maybe the tone of asking can be refined and maybe using words that make the questioning more discreet but of course, still not veering away from the main topic would be helpful? 2. There was a survey that really bothered me- the one entitled “Pag-ibig.” The questions directed us to evaluate our loved ones in different scenarios such as “Are they supportive?”, etc. but when I asked the researcher who they meant when they said “loved ones”, they said everyone we love including the parents, friends, lover, etc. However, I found this weird because I have different answers per question for these different kinds of people. When I raised this concern to the researches, they told me to just average the ratings I will give to may parents, friends, lover and put the mean as my answer. I found this very weird because my answers per kind of people really differ so much. Also, I don’t think other people did the same thing since during my time slot alone, I was the only one who asked and they didn’t bother to announce this instruction to everyone. In conclusion, I really don’t know if that research would generate conclusions that are really as truthful and accurate. C. Sign-ups As stated awhile ago, the system for signing up was really chaotic. People hoarded slots and I doubt they showed up in all the experiments they volunteered to be part of. I think there is a huge potential to improve the operation flow of this system such as doing online signups through mysignups.com and applying grave penalties to those who are signing up just for fun and not actually showing up. I realized with this experience that I actually want to take up more Psychology electives for me to have the chance to leverage on the good points the previous researchers showed and personally work on the points for improvement I noticed to produce my very own researches. I think I would actually spend my last 2 non-BA electives in this building (see you next semester!) Overall, I enjoyed the entire experience of research participation this semester. Not only did I feel satisfied to gain new experiences but I also felt giddy that I was actually able to contribute something for the department, which I know will eventually result to and produce something very beneficial to the country and the Philippine society.