Week 9: Hustle, Hustle, Hustle

Everything goes according to plan (for once)

At the end of last week, my plan was to address the issues that were uncovered during the pilot study, start recruitment, and have participants by the end of the week. In a rare combination of events, that is exactly what happened. I was able to address the largest issues on Monday and Tuesday, try out things on the robot house on Wednesday and Thursday, and run one participant through on Friday. It’s nice when a plan comes together.

The Fetch robot shamelessly tries to recruit people.

Of course, once you have an experiment up and ready to go, you need to get participants. I feel that recruiting participants is the most difficult part of any study. I’m lucky that I have many people that are cheering for me, and have plenty of ideas for recruiting people (and where to find them). For example, on Friday, I had a master student show me places where students congregate, and helped me find a spot to talk at the beginning of a lecture. Of course, just before the lecture I had managed to slip and fall in the mud. So, I may not have presented the cleanest image. I think mentioning that you could work with a robot made some people interested. The advertising have started creating some interest, and I have some participants lined up for next week. As long as this rate continues, I’ll be in an OK shape, but I suspect I’ll have to keep pushing to keep the rate up.

I also found out that one of my journal articles was accepted (with minor revisions). So, that is something to keep me busy over Christmas break and while waiting for participants.

Otherwise, the week has also been filled with non-study things too. This may come as a surprise to you, but Christmas is coming soon! So, I spent time this week sorting out and sending Christmas gifts. On the other hand, there’s also Christmas food to be had. The local food service at the university is serving Christmas Dinner for lunch multiple times before the school closes for Christmas break. It seems that the choice here is gammon (ham) or turkey carved and put on your plate while you wait. Then, there are all the cooked vegetables. It seems that Brussels sprouts has a special role for Christmas food. Whatever your opinion, the whole thing was tasty. I also had a yule log for dessert. From the U.S., I was taught that this was a log that you burned in the fireplace during Christmas. But there is actually a French dessert of the same name—bûche de Noël—with the same name; it certainly tastes better than wood.