At the title suggests, I am almost halfway through this month's study. In my blog this week, I thought I would share my experience so far, and have included some top tips for making life easier when running a study. Take a look!
Setting Up the Room
I have booked a room at the university on several days throughout August where I am running the study. I shared a picture of this in the teaser study blog post. There's a lot going on in this small room!
In the beginning, I found it overwhelming dealing with all of the technical equipment I need to set up; I have two laptops on two separate tables, one tablet, a wireless keyboard and mouse, two cameras on two tripods that need to be positioned just so, as well as all of the paper resources I need to brief participants and keep track of the study.
Top tip #1: Checklists are your friends.
What I find helpful is having a checklist of what documents needed to be printed and available, and another checklist of what needs to be setup in the room. This way, anything that has been missed is obvious and can be sorted out before the participant arrives.
Top tip #2: Give yourself ample time to set up.
As is to be expected, I now have no problem setting things up within 15 minutes, because I have had plenty of opportunity to practice and my checklists keep me focused. Nevertheless, I give myself at least half an hour to get things ready, even if the room has been set up at the beginning of the day. There'll always be something that needs photocopying or adjusting.
Communicating with Participants
I have been very fortunate to have a steady stream of people sign up to take part. With only a few more people to recruit, I can focus on running the sessions well with participants.
Top tip #3: Send participants a reminder.
I send clear information about details such as how to get to the university at the time of sign up, but a reminder can give you both peace of mind that the session is still suitable for everyone. As a courtesy, I send a polite email to participants the day before or morning of the session with the basics: what, where and when.
Running a Session
Each session goes a little differently since each participant brings their own background and prior knowledge to the room. Some sessions have been easier to run that others, but I feel that the interviews I ran earlier in the year have helped me with my approach to talking with participants.
Top tip #4: Keep calm and remain neutral.
Allow participants the time to respond to your questions, but prompt them with a follow up question if they are not able to find an answer.
How Are the Results Looking?
Well... I'm not able to share the results with you just yet. However, I have been maintaining a summary of the results as I go, to make analysis easier when I am finished and because I'm impatient and want to see the results develop! There are some interesting trends emerging that I look forward to exploring and sharing with you. I might even get a graph or two in here soon!
Top tip #5: Summarise results as you go.
This will save you time and effort at the end of your study, and could highlight any interesting results as you go.
I hope you have found this interesting and useful. Let me know if you have any other tips for making it easier to run a study smoothly!