Ten precious weeks: Ethics, participant recruitment, exam results and a looming deadline


I’ve written and re-written the first line to this post three times. Why? I don’t even know where to begin. So much has happened in the last few weeks.The first cab off the ranks on my Honours news highway is ethics submission. That particular process led me through even more twists and turns than I mentioned in my last post. If I could go back in time and give myself a tip, it would be to expect that it would take longer than anticipated. Regardless, I now have ethics approval for my study! Subsequently, I have entered the participant recruitment phase like all the other Honours students. This means that I am now checking my email with ridiculous frequency, just in case someone has contacted me wanting to volunteer. Sadly, repeatedly hitting your email  refresh button will not make the recruitment phase go any faster…

Ever wondered about the inner working of an Honours student’s mind at this stage of the year? Wonder no more:  

Why isn’t anyone signing up? How can I get more participants? What if I don’t get enough participants? How many people do I really need? What if it takes me ages to get volunteers and I end up with no data?

The above is a decent cross-section of discussions with fellow Honours students over the last week. You might have noticed the recurring theme, a desperate wish for more participants, and quickly! To be honest, I think we all need to relax a bit. Yes, we need to actively search for volunteers, but at the same time volunteers are just that, volunteers. There is only so much you can do to let them know about your study and then the rest is up to them. Let’s see how zen I am about this next week though…

I think this growing anxiety over recruitment is because time is galloping away. My thesis is due in TEN WEEKS. In this time I am aiming to (read: must) have collected data from thirty participants, entered it into SPSS, analysed it, written and edited my introduction, method, results, discussion, references and acknowledgements. And of course binding and submission. Piece of cake I say with tongue firmly in cheek! I know that I will make it happen because I must. Life is nothing without a challenge.

While the last few weeks have been eventful, they have been equally surprising. At the end of last semester I sat several exams. It was with trepidation that I made my way upstairs to the noticeboard to find my marks. As usual, it took me three attempts to locate my student ID among the others not to mention those all important grades. I am not exaggerating when I say that I saw my marks and laughed in astonishment. I honestly could not believe it. I had thought I had done well in one exam, but not that well! And as for the essay exam I had been worried about, I had also earned a good grade. Finding out my results was such a morale boost, I now have a fighting chance in the competitive entry process to postgraduate psychology. I ‘just’ have to defend this chance by throwing my all into the rest of the assessment tasks and my thesis!

Until next time, thanks for reading and good luck with your studies : )

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1 Comment

Filed under ethics, Honours year, Research, statistics

One response to “Ten precious weeks: Ethics, participant recruitment, exam results and a looming deadline

  1. Pingback: Bootylicious…pun intended. | Honourable Mentions

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