March 27, 2013, by khyx2lyn
Life of an Intern – Research in Memory & Attention
What started off as a productive way of spending the summer holidays turned out to be exactly that and also an opportunity to learn more about what research really is, outside the context of a classroom and in the seriousness of a full-fledged, ongoing research work. This gave me an exclusive peek into the amount of work that need to be done in order for a study to find place in publication – from very careful and thoughtful designing of experiments and systematic data collection, coding, as well as analysis, to the defending of one’s work to a panel of critics. Although my work scope covered only data collection, coding, and analysis, I learned a lot about the work that happens before and after that through the many meetings with my supervisor, who was always more than willing to explain and discuss about the theory and concepts behind his work, as well as regarding the progress of the study that I helped him with.
As my supervisor’s (Dr. Matthew Johnson) research is in the area of memory and attention – topics that are learned in my undergraduate course – this internship, to a certain extent, also served as a means for me to revise and even to know beyond, what I have learned. It is also perhaps worth mentioning that working in campus over the summer when there are less people was a pleasant experience for me because I particularly enjoyed the slower pace and the (perhaps seemingly) reduced sense of urgency among the lecturers, which allowed me the flexibility of working and learning at my own pace as well. As the study that I helped my supervisor with required me to work with audio data using a coding script that he wrote, I learned a little about sound waves and the very general concept behind script-writing. Most of that is beyond my understanding, but nevertheless, it was fun to learn even just as “extra” information.
All in all, this internship has allowed me to learn a lot about one focused area in the comfort of time flexibility – something that I don’t think we, as students in class, can have due to the amount of material that needs to be covered across a diverse set of topics over a short period of time. And if one’s fortunate, he/she may find themselves gaining an interest in and forming an attachment to an area of research they never gave serious thought about.
(Year 2 Student in BSc (Hons.) Psychology, UNMC)