Success! 1 of 10 dissertation experiments
What a day… I’m so exhausted. It’s been such an overwhelming amount of work, but it’s over and that’s one of the ten experiments I need (for the first phase of my dissertation anyway) done. The data collection went smooth, I love the new equipment, and I only ran into what appears to be one problem with the recording, but I’m hoping it wasn’t a real issue. So quick recap of how it went and then I get to remind everyone, and myself, that I get to enjoy doing it all again tomorrow!
Experiments can be hard. Let’s just get that out there right now for anyone wanting to be a researcher. Specifically human research is difficult. While animal models and cell lines are basically there for you when you need them, people have lives and schedules and all sorts of things we need to juggle. That makes fitting in time to do experiments when we have so many other commitments (on both my end and the other persons end) way more difficult.
Then to add to that, there’s the physical demands. There’s a lot of walking around, bending, picking things up. Everything is sized accordingly for a human so the equipment is human sized and can be heavy or just cumbersome. As hospital-PI and I have noted on several occasions, it feels like running a marathon, but instead of a metal and a celebration at the end you are left with a lot of data and more work to do to see if it was even worth it. Maybe I’m in the wrong field…
My day started several hours prior to the actual experiment. In fact, my day started at 8am and the experiment was originally scheduled for 1pm, so needless to say, setup and prep takes forever (as I highlighted yesterday). Most of the stuff I would normally do the day before I had to do the day of, but a good chunk of the stuff on the list I made in yesterday’s post was stuff I had finished the week prior, so that was a good thing.
The cap setup is basically second nature these days, so throwing it together took ~30 minutes or so. Gathering everything I needed and testing everything separately then all together took much, much longer though. We had a few things that needed to be worked through. We had a distinct lack of equipment because we’re loaning our equipment out to another lab, so I had to make a few frantic emails/texts to get the equipment back for my experiment. I managed to get it back, but it was an hour after my original start time, which my participant was understanding because they were part of the lab, but I still was a bit annoyed because I really didn’t want to make the person wait like that.
Luckily after we got everything we needed, the rest went pretty smoothly. We did run into some weird problems with the fancy software that came with the EMG sensors, which makes me a bit sad. I’m hoping that it wasn’t an “actual” problem, but it’s hard to say for certain without looking more into it. It looked like the data froze, but the timer letting me know how many minutes were being recorded kept counting, so I assume it was okay… but again you never know! It only happened once (I think!), so it may be fine if I drop one trial since there were 4 more, but still. I’ll have to come up with a better way of doing it next time.
All in all things went well and the experiment itself went much quicker than the last time. I had worried that the delays the last time around weren’t as serious as I made them out to be and my experiment length was just way longer than I estimated. If anything, my experiment time was lower than I anticipated. We managed to finish in ~2 hours give or take, but setup took about an hour so 3 hours total for the person and about 10 hours for me, meaning it was a lot of work, like a lot, a lot.
So yes, I’m exhausted and I’m ready to lay in bed and sleep until Monday, except I’m doing it all again tomorrow. What joy! But, hey at least I’ll have plenty of data, finally. 10% done and counting… (maybe 10%, that’s a whole other problem for a whole other post all on it’s own though! So for now, shhh it’s a secret.)