As promised, September was a very busy month, hence the delay in writing this. The Dragon Boat Race was great fun, the CHI paper has been submitted, you read about the ITAI conference in my last post, and the CDE welcomed its new cohort of students just last week (a great bunch of people, by the way!).
I am currently finishing writing my transfer report after meeting with my supervisors last week to talk about the future of the project. This comes as I move into my third year of the EngD programme (half way there!), so it feels only natural to reflect on a year of research, though I will keep this short.
Becoming a Researcher
I think one of the most pronounced changes that I am consciously aware of is that I feel more like a researcher now than I did this time last year. Without a doubt, I am still learning, but my approach to academic research has certainly improved. I have learned new qualitative research skills throughout the year, and over the summer I carried out a full study with support from my supervisors during the planning and writing up stages. I could not have completed such a large research activity in October 2018.
I have met a lot of new people this year by attending conferences, volunteering, and presenting my work to the public. I think that I am a lot more aware of issues surrounding accessibility and hope that I am better at seeing things from other points of view now. I am keen to get better at producing accessible documents and online content in order to make my work accessible to more people, and will try to make this a priority rather than a bonus in future.
Getting Better at Planning
Earlier in the year, I wrote a post about how I was glad to start doing after such a lot of planning. As I put together this post, I realised that planning the next steps of the project is coming a lot more naturally to me than it has in the past. I think I have taken for granted how I have improved the way I think about planning and doing research, which goes back to 'becoming a researcher' from earlier. I thought it was worth mentioning that here explicitly, since it almost slipped by as a passing thought.
I am looking forward to continuing with the next piece of research for my project. The first step is to design an experiment that can be used to validate the results from our last study with people with dementia. I will be asking my steering group to give some input on how the experiment can be improved at our next meeting in November, which means we will probably start recruiting for the study at the beginning of next year.
I will also be putting my thematic analysis hat back on as I look through the data we collected in August's study to draw out any themes relating to the requirements of an augmented reality prompting system.
There have been ups and there have been downs, but on the whole the project has made good progress and I have achieved a lot in the 12 months since I started at Designability. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way. Let's keep the momentum moving forward!