Since Project YESS is so close to starting Phase 2, my work this week primarily focused on the survey:
On Monday, I worked with my advisor to implement the changes in the phase 2 survey that were approved by the PI last week when we were presenting them to her in efforts of lowering the number of answer choices in certain questions. We assigned each other different sections of the study to work on and met up when we were finished to make sure we didn’t miss anything. For instance, I was assigned to work on the questions related to condom use while my advisor worked on questions related to HIV/STI testing. When changing the questions, we both used Track Changes on a word document of the survey in order to give us the ability to see the exact edits we made.
On Tuesday, in preparation for my senior project presentation, I identified the shortcomings of my senior project. More specifically, I noted the aspects of my projects that needed improvement or were simply missing. For instance, I found that although my project focuses on 16-24 year olds, data shows that adolescents as young as 13 are begining to engage in seuxal activity. Although these statistics have not reached alarming heights, it is predicted that it will eventually. It has been debated among the scientific community that sexual intercourse is perceived as a first step to starting a romantic relationship, and with the desire of younger adolescents to have a romantic relationship with someone, they feel more inclined to engage in sex. With this rising trend, mixed with the lack of sexual awareness and knowledge because of their young age, susceptibilities in STIs/STDs can begin to rise as well. Furthermore, in order to address this, evaluating the sexual behaviors of 13+ year olds and introducing ideas to promote sexual health among this age group would have been beneficial. I believe that this step of reflection on my research findings is also very helpful for the future when I conduct my own independent academic inquiries. Being able to look at ways I can improve my research helps me sharpen my analytical and research skills, which is very important to me considering my desire to pursue medicine.
On Wednesday, project staff and I had a group meeting in order to look over some of the figures (charts, tables etc.) my project advisor made that will eventually be incorporated into the study’s paper. We mostly went over spelling, grammar, and formatting to make sure if was clear, concise, and easy to read. Establishing the figures has been quite important for our study as it will help us visualize some of our data in order to make it easier for people to read since our data is mostly qualitative. This process has been quite arduous since we have been trying to make sure they adhere to scientific guidelines, but we have little to no examples to use as references since there haven’t been many studies like Project YESS that have been conducted. However, with the assistance and insight of some incoming graduate fellows, I am hopeful that we will be able to finalize them.
This Wednesday also marked a big date for Project YESS staff as most of the interns and Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) were going to graduate in a few days. Many of them are looking to pursue a career in Public Health, so their experience working with Project YESS should definitely prepare them for the future.