Written by Will Thurston Class of 2019
I have spent the past nine weeks on campus in the MAPLab and it has been a great summer research experience. I’ve had the opportunity to continue developing skills I had learned over my past year in the lab and take on new responsibilities. My primary task has been data management and preparation for a study we conducted during the spring semester. Additionally, I have participated in a journal club, created a poster which has been accepted at a major psychology conference, and written these blog posts each week.
In order to manage data for my project this summer, I had to learn how to use SPSS Statistics. This has been a valuable experience, as SPSS is commonly used across the social sciences to analyze data. I also had to teach myself some new techniques in Microsoft Excel and Powerpoint while working on the poster. Along the way, Dr. Sockol, the other MAPLab members (Katie and Erica), and the rest of the psychology summer researchers have been available to help with any questions.
One of the main differences between working in the lab during the year and over the summer is the pace. Because we work roughly 9-5, five days a week, we are able to move forward on projects more quickly than we can during the school year. I have enjoyed having focused lab time and then being done for the day without homework or lots of pending responsibilities. This has allowed me to have a nice ‘work-life balance’. Lab time is flexible and we are allowed to move our hours around to fit what works best for us. This flexibility makes the summer research experience altogether much less stressful than Davidson during the academic year.
Overall, working in the lab has been a positive experience which I would recommend to anyone interested in psychology research. There are several other psychology labs working at Davidson over the summer, and I encourage anyone interested to reach out to their professors. There are many ways to get funded, and as long as you plan ahead you have a good chance of being accepted to conduct summer research!
Image found: https://openclipart.org/detail/27222/sunglasses