This semester I took my graduate experience to the next level. I have begun doing research. While we all have to do it at some point in our academic career, I had no idea what all is involved with the research process. Two months into the process and I have yet to do any actual research. These beginning months have been dedicated to compling with the HSIRB protocol.
Maybe I am naive, but I had no idea that before doing any sort of research at WMU, one must complete online training. While at times, the training can be obvious, the requirement makes complete sense. I spent January learning the history of research, ethical standards, regulations related to human subjects and most importantly, when a letter of consent is required. After the training, it was clear why one can’t just research whatever and whoever they want. Apparently that could result in a breech of privacy.
Once the training is complete, there is just a brief moment of relief. Next, one must begin writing their HSIRB protocol outlining the research process. New to the game, and still not sure what my research would entail, filling out the required forms for the HSIRB was overwhelming. Luckily, the professor I am working with was there to polish the final document. I still wonder if I was more harmful than helpful during this process.
Finally, after an almost three month process, today our HSIRB protocol was approved! The next step, the actual research, involves me going “under cover” as a PeaceJam mentor at their Spring Conference April 13-14. This is going to be awesome on so many levels. I will learn about the research process, taking field notes, interview, observing and debriefing the impact mentoring has on the development of emerging adults. I am not only looking forward to hearing everyone else’s experiences but to personally experience the benefits of being a mentor.
I look forward to the next coming weeks, and plan to keep documenting the experience.
Enjoy the Spring!
P.S. – Apologies if I was the only one clueless about the process and this is old news.