Posts Tagged ‘research’

Data collection: A lesson in time management

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

With my survey and experiment less starting in less than two hours, I am finally feeling like things are under control.

“Just a short survey, conducting it is not a big deal,” I thought. Boy, was I wrong! The printing went smoothly, but there were additional hours I hadn’t anticipated. Folding 200 surveys takes longer than you’d think! And then I had to staple them too (three pages fold together to form a booklet).

I did get some things done ahead of schedule: The psychology department kindly lent me a box of golf pencils, I quickly used EViews to get a random number list, and my #1 assistant (i.e., my mother) got the 200 toonies for me from the bank. All seemed to be on track.

The experiment part of tonight’s research involves giving participants $2 as compensation for completing the survey. The $2 is given in three different ways. This is the part that I left to the last minute to actually put together (big mistake!).

One group of surveys has the $2 coin attached to the back, the second group has a voucher attached to the back, and the third group tells the participant to hand in their survey and that they “could donate [their compensation] to The Commons.” The random number list assigns a type of survey with the participant (much more high-tech than it sounds).

After three or four hours of tedious work this afternoon everything is on track! Somehow I managed to get everything done–most likely because I’ve been working away at bits of it all week. The lesson? Things always take longer than you think they will; be sure to leave some buffer room.

Time to have a cup of tea and enjoy the calm before the storm!


Research at the University of Victoria

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Wondering where research happens at UVic? Other than specific faculty research, the map below outlines the key locations of research development. Consider using this map as a reference for starting your undergraduate research.

The Office of Community Based Research is a great place for resource tools, but perhaps the best place to start, and where you’ll spend the most of your time, is UVic’s McPherson Library.

Looking for an undergraduate research scholarship? Check out the Learning and Teaching Centre in the Hickman Building.

Finally, if you’re doing primary research, you may have to apply for approval from the Ethics Board, located in the Administrative Services Building. Happy researching!

Sharing the internet: Social bookmarking

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Staying organized isn’t easy. Staying organized online can be even harder. Social bookmarking provides the answer to this problem. It gives you control over your favourite weblinks and lets you share them with others as well.

Social bookmarking can be divided into two main uses: private use and network use.

Private use is good for:

  • keeping track of research
  • organizing lists such as online cooking recipes
  • managing your online shopping

Network use is good for:

  • group projects
  • sharing your favourite weblinks
  • collaboration
  • knowledge mobilization

It’s a good idea to remember the privacy post when sharing your bookmarks with others.

To figure out which social bookmarking software works best for you, you’ll have to do a bit of trial and error. The most popular sites can be found here.

Great news: Scholarship and ethics approval

October 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, it’s been a busy week:

I have been awarded an Undergraduate Research Scholarship, AND I received notice of approval from the ethics board for my primary research.

Very fitting that it should fall in the same week as Canadian Thanksgiving; I have a lot to be thankful for!

When do they tell me the answers?

October 1, 2010 1 comment

Economics 100It’s a big world out there–by “out there” I mean off campus too–but sometimes even just the department seems limitless. I’m an economics major, and I’ve finally made it to my last year of my undergrad degree. When I think about it, it’s a scary proposition: I only have one year left to figure out what everything in first year meant?! Yikes! I’d better get started…

As I sit through lecture after lecture I am beginning to wonder if there really are any answers (do those prisoners ever learn to cooperate??), or if it’s all been some trick to keep us coming back. Well, I intend to find out a thing or two before I graduate (is that too much to ask?) and luckily I have a good place to start: my honours thesis.

This year, eleven lucky students were accepted into the honours program. “Lucky” is turning out to mean “busy” because we have lots of work to do. I have to write a thesis by April, and for me, being the keener that I am, that means I don’t have to just write any old undergrad thesis, I’ve got to write the thesis. So, here’s what I’ve got so far: I’m going to be looking at the effects of social incentives on the free-rider problem in common-pool resources. To bring you up to speed, I’ve tried to map this out:

Effects: I don’t mean personal effects, or special effects; I mean the thing that happens as the result of something else (which could be special, but try not to get confused).

Social incentives: We’re going to guilt you into it! No, no, not really. Some of the social incentives I’m looking at are the power of acknowledgment, the power of working in a group, and the incentives of non-monetary gains (such as coupons–who doesn’t like coupons??).

Free-rider problem: No, not rough rider–free rider! This is someone who benefits from something without contributing to it. For example, the dog from the little red hen story. Do you remember that story? “Who will help me bake the bread?” asked the little red hen. “Not I,” said the lazy dog. “Who will help me eat the bread?” asked the little red hen. “I,” said the lazy dog.

Common-pool resources: Something that is owned by everyone. Such as the fish in a lake. The problem is, it’s pretty hard to stop people from fishing, and if everyone fishes as much as they can, there are no more fish.

Okay, so now you’re up to speed on what my topic is: I’m trying to guilt the lazy dog into only fishing a socially-optimal amount.

It’s a pretty tough question.

Class is calling–time to dive into the world of econometrics!