Week Three!

Hi everyone,

My third week was off to a busy start! Dr. Phillips, Dr. Welch, and Monica Hsu are working on the study that my project is a part of, and they were all back in the office at the start of this week. One of our biggest successes was that we decided on a study name- StepUp! We also decided that my interview project will be completely separated from the sedentary behavior reduction intervention that Monica is running for her URG project. Our recruitment parameters are slightly different, so we will likely be pulling from different groups of women. In our team meeting next week, we are going to discuss exactly how we will recruit participants to our studies.

This week, I continued to develop materials for my interview project so that we can get going quickly after obtaining IRB approval. I wrote recruitment call and email scripts as well as finalized a script for my interviews. It is very important that these materials are standardized so that participants have an informed and consistent experience. Speaking from a script on a phone call can feel a little awkward at first, but I learned from Fit2Thrive that once you get used to the script you can adjust the words a little bit to make it comfortable and your own.

Gillian Lloyd, one of the research assistants at the Exercise and Health Lab, also took some time to teach me how to do qualitative analysis of interview data. She is analyzing interview data from Fit2Thrive to prepare it for a paper, so she walked me through her steps. First, I will label sections of the interview to correspond to a codebook of various types of responses to the questions I ask. Then, I will group the coded sections of responses by type and write summary paragraphs of them so that I can accurately determine the participants’ opinions. Gillian’s instruction was good preparation for later this summer when I will be analyzing interviews as part of my study.

We also did a lot of work this week putting final touches on Fit2Thrive. Part of the intervention includes a study website with “Fit Studies”, easy-to-read reviews of physical activity research, and “Survivor Spotlights”, where participants can read about other breast cancer survivors who have successfully increased their physical activity levels. I spent a lot of time uploading these to WordPress, editing them, and finding appropriate photos to include. Reading the recent research and the success stories of these women is very inspiring, and I hope our participants will think so too.

As some of you may know, I am currently in the process of applying to medical school. My primary applications were turned in June 1, and the second wave of applications began on Friday. I have already received a few emails from medical schools asking me to fill out secondary applications, and will start sending them in over the weekend. After I turn in my secondary applications, the colleges will review them and determine if they will offer me an interview. I am excited to get going with these next steps!

I have a four day weekend coming up with the fourth of July, so I will update you soon on what I have been up to! I am planning on seeing fireworks in Deerfield and in Evanston this weekend as well as moving into my new apartment in Evanston.