Tear-off flyers and pamphlets. You see them all the time walking around campus: in Trabant, in the Little Bob, even in some classrooms. Most pass by these sheets of paper without a second glance, or even an initial one. “Take this survey,” they say, or “Come to South Campus and sit around for a bit and answer questions.” They seem to range between extremely minuscule and exceedingly out-of-the-way. One day, however, I decided to actually look into one of these research opportunities.
Thrice a week I make the trek from Caesar Rodney Dining Hall to Main Street where, behind one of the buildings (you know, down an alley and into a parking lot), I have my Linguistics 101 class. Strange location aside, it’s here where I’m greeted every day by various studies being advertised by the Department of Linguistics & Cognitive Science, or that of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Coming into class one October morning, one of these flyers caught my eye — Nap2Learn. So I thought, why not?, and took a tab. Two weeks later I found myself on a shuttle to STAR Tower to take part in a five-hour study.
Now, what could possibly motivate me to willingly take five hours out of a Thursday to take part in a study all the way on south campus? Three factors: the study is related to linguistics (my major), there was an advertised fifty dollars in Amazon gift cards at the end of it, and I knew I’d be bored that day — my only class that day was the last UNIV of the semester, so my schedule was pretty free. The study itself was detailed in the paper pinned to the corkboard outside my Ling101 classroom; I’d be taking part in a five-hour study wherein I would answer some questions about sounds, take a nap, then answer more questions.
The study itself was neat — I had to distinguish between some sounds not found in English and got an EEG cap put on me before I was told to take a nap for the next four hours. I don’t tend to take naps, however, so really it was an hour of me sleeping and three of me sitting in bed in a windowless room. Afterward I distinguished the same sounds and was asked to complete some sets of shape and spelling tasks. And it was done; I was handed my fifty bucks and went back to take a shuttle up to Morris.
I hadn’t really thought of taking part in any studies prior to this experience, but I’m glad I decided to go through with it. It was interesting being able to take part in research related to my major, even as a subject rather than as one of the researchers. If anyone reading this has the opportunity to take part in studies based around their major, or really any studies at all, I strongly recommend them. Yes, there’s the monetary incentive or—in the cases of two studies I’ve taken part in since—extra credit, but taking part in such studies was a nice experience for me. Again, if you ever get the chance, take part in one of these if you can; money’s good, but getting experience and possibly even connections within your major is an excellent asset.