Week 3 – Research and Rocks, But I’m Not a Geologist

Mansfield Foundation Fellow in Social Psychology (In memory of Merlin "Pat" Dreibelbis '39)

Ft. Hays State University | Hays, Kansas

June 17, 2017

I can’t believe I’ve been in Kansas for three weeks now. I guess my mind is still on “Cornell time” because this would mean that the end of the block is coming up. Lucky for me, I still have another five weeks to look forward to. This week has had some major developments for the work I’m doing. My mentors and I have decided that since they’re all researching different topic, instead of me helping them with their research, it would be more beneficial for me if we all worked together to come up with my own research topic. Therefore, my task this week was to start looking into ideas for a topic.

Some of the greatest minds in the field of Psychology (from left to right: B.F. Skinner, John Watson, Wilhelm Wundt)

At first, this was a little challenging. I had to make sure that the topic I wanted to research hadn’t already been done. I had to make sure that I was adding something new to the field. I had so many questions about social media and how it affects us, but every article that I was able to find had already answered those questions. Then I thought back to my Research Methods class and how my partners and I had to come up with a research question. We were given a single article on a topic and from that article, we had to come up with a question. I then realized why I was struggling with finding a topic. I was looking for answers when I should have been looking for questions. Why does this variable have this effect? If we change this part of the experiment, will the outcome be different? These are the questions I started to ask myself when I reread my articles.

Four hours and 9 articles later, I had three solid research topics that I really wanted to look into. I met with my mentors and we talked about my ideas and they helped me develop them further. Finally, we ended up with two research questions. I won’t go into too much detail, but the main point of the research I will now start looking into has to do with how people use impression management on social media and how different types people react to it. Dr. Hill and I have already started looking into how to define variables and have started a rough draft a procedure, while Dr. Jeter and I are looking up scales on how to measure our variables. I am very excited to begin the process of conducting my own research with a team of experts to guide me.

Castle Rock sign

Enough about work though. As I mentioned last week, I’ve become somewhat of an expert of Hays. I’m still discovering new places to go, like this awesome brewery I plan on going to next week, but for the most part, I know all the nooks and crannies. That is why I decided to venture out of Hays Kansas and into a different part of Kansas. Yesterday I went on an adventure to Castle Rock. Apparently, there are two Castle Rocks, so just to be clear, I went to the one in Kansas, not Colorado. It was very cool, and probably the closest thing the Midwest has to mountains. Instead of trying to describe it to you, let me just show you with pictures.

Hey that’s me at Castle Rock using my awesome selfie stick, courtesy of the Barry Career Institute

Nealy professional headshot

Aaron Nealy '17

Aaron Nealy is a psychology major from Chicago, Illinois.