It has been a long while since I have posted on this process blog. It has been a very busy month or so in regard to my thesis.
Institutional Review Board (IRB)
For several weeks, I was unable to get my project approved by the IRB. It was a constant process of sending in what I thought was a final draft, only to be told that it still had many errors. In that light, I want to say thank you to the members of the IRB for dealing with me for so long and their patience every time I had to send in a new form with corrections. Even though the process was extremely tedious and frustrating for all, I now have a good understanding at what would be “passable” for an IRB expedited review.
As soon as I did receive that coveted IRB approval, I scrambled to get my several surveys out into the sample populations, in hopes that I would be able to pull off the forum this Friday (3/24). Unfortunately, I did not foresee the confusion students would experience with the fact that there is an online survey available for personal testimonies, as well as an in-person survey station to measure student perspective on mental health on campus.
For the past couple of days, I have been standing in the campus center or the dining hall asking students to take a quick anonymous survey for my research. Probably over 20 people have responded that they already took a survey online and aren’t interested in taking anymore.
On the one hand, I am happy that so many people have contributed to the personal testimony survey link. However, I still need 250 responses for this in person pretest survey and I only have 172 at this moment. Not to mention, that I will have to do this all over again in a couple of week for the survey posttest. I don’t even want to think about how hard it will be to get students to answer surveys then.
Furthermore, there was another student who also published a survey asking for personal testimonies. I think many people believe that was my survey. In sum, there are a lot of surveys out there right now and the BMC student population is a little burned out from taking surveys.
On the bright side, the faculty members have all been very supportive and helpful in taking their population survey for me. I assume that they empathize for the challenges of research projects.
The Forum Itself
This is probably the most anxiety-provoking challenge as of yet for my project. I sent out 80 invitations to randomly selected students to participate in a two hour forum on Friday. Only 9 have gotten back to me. And many have declined participation. Which, to be honest, surprises me as participants will be compensated for their time. Plus, mental health is a known hot topic on campus.
Perhaps the most disappointing lack of turn out is the faculty that I invited to serve on the expert panel. Only a few people have gotten back to me to decline participation. Otherwise, no one has responded.
I pushed back the forum AGAIN to be on Friday March 31st. If I cannot get the full 20 student spots filled from the random selection list, I will open the spots to the public.
If no faculty agrees to attend, we will unfortunately have to lose that step in the forum. This is incredibly disheartening for me, but I must move on.
Finally, plenary was an extremely disappointing event. I had submitted a resolution to help improve mental health care on campus, and the student body could not maintain quorum long enough to address the resolution. So, now this will no longer be an element of my thesis.
This post was short and not extremely detailed, but it’s now out there in case anyone is interested in what is going on.