Week 3!

This week was…..eventful!

The week started off with Vanessa and I pretty much up to our neck in things to do. We started off the week by going to the library on Sunday to organize everything for the work week, and to knock out what we could. Basically though, we made a huge TO-DO list as we sat there on our laptops staring at the screen at all we had to do.

Here was our original TO DO list for this week:

  1. Send Facebook our justifications for why we need user data.
  2. Finalize our methods and how we were going to even do this project (because really there were none and we had to come up with them)
  3. Fill out IRB form
  4. Play around with fake Facebook group data and see if we can work database
  5. Add more to related work and method outline, as well as introduction to paper
  6. Review coding (HTML, CSS, Java, PHP)

We had a lot of things to do without running into any complications, but of course we ran into a couple….

Firstwe realized that to send justifications as to why we needed the data for Facebook, we had to send SCREENCASTS of how the user would interact with the application. Wait just a minute Grace, you guys haven’t developed an app yet, though? That is correct – we have yet to develop an app and in fact we only just finalized our methods…which includes a scenario-based evaluation to see what people with rare diseases would find most beneficial in an application. So how will we get approval from Facebook?? Good question! It may have taken a freak out and a meeting, but we figured it out. Our solution is to create a basic, mock-up app using a wire-framing tool (like appery.io or something similar), to at least show Facebook how a user would navigate around an app. Granted, this mock-up will probably look nothing like the final application we end up producing, but at least Facebook will (hopefully!) get the gist of it. Also, we need the kind of thing that makes it possible for us to take screencasts, so we are currently in the process of finding out how to acquire one. (SO….TO-DO ASAP: MAKE MOCK-UP APP).

Second, we had to fill out an IRB form. Here was my thought process: Wait, an IRB form? But we’ve both never filled one out before? And it usually takes a few weeks to get approval? How will we fill it out if we don’t know our specific methods? How will we have time???? Okay, so the IRB form really did freak Vanessa and I out. It may have been because everyone else’s grad student mentors were filling them out for their projects, or that we had never filled one out, or that we were only provided general ideas about this project and nothing about how it should be carried out and what methods should be used, but ultimately we decided that we were strong, independent women who could do this. Our solution was to first finalize our exact method (because we have to tell the IRB what we plan on doing, in a pretty specific manner). We decided that in order to have something for this ten week REU, we will do a scenario-based evaluation. Basically, while we await approval from Facebook, we will come up with scenarios we will present to people in a beta test, in order to find out what features would be most beneficial in an application that matches people to others to increase the amount of support. We’re still filling out the IRB, because after we complete the scenario-based evaluation and beta test, we will most likely do a user study with the actual rare disease population. So, as the IRB takes a while to fill out and get approval on, we have to get crackin’.  We plan on having this completed by Friday, June 10.

Alright, so those were our “uh-oh” moments, but we did manage to get a few other things done:

  1. We completed a rough draft of our related works and methods, along with an outline of our introduction. We added a couple more citations to our draft, including:
    • Park, Albert et al. “Homophily of Vocabulary Usage: Beneficial Effects of Vocabulary Similarity on Online Health Communities Participation.” AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings 2015 (2015): 1024–1033. Print.
    • Carroll, J. M. (2000). Five reasons for scenario-based design.
      Interacting with computers, 13(1), 43-60.
    • See the PDF of the draft here (and notice, we did come up with a title!): Week 3 Draft
  2. We both reviewed our knowledge of HTML/CSS and taught ourselves PHP! Yay! (Thank goodness for codeacademy.com!)
  3. We met with Fernando twice and Patrick once this week and asked them both a TON of questions that helped us kind of calm down, step back, and come up with the best method for this project and how we should execute it.

That being said, there is still a LOT MORE to be done! Also, I submitted a proposal to INWIC (Sept. 30) to present a poster on this summer’s findings. But after this week of ups and downs, I’m ready for the weekend!!!!

Here’s my list of goals for the upcoming week:

  • submit IRB (ASAP)
  • have mock-up application created (at least by Wednesday)
  • submit Facebook for Developers approval (date depending on when we acquire screencasting tool)
  • create scenarios for scenario-based evaluation (by Friday)
  • post another blog and meet weekly deliverable for paper (by Friday)
  • play around with Facebook test files and database
  • Go to our usual 3 scheduled meetings (2 with Fernando, one with Patrick)

This week may have been chaotic, but after it all I am more confident in the direction this project is taking all together. I’m confident that we can publish a paper on scenario-based evaluation and how an application could benefit the rare disease community by facilitating necessary support for individuals. Wish us luck! 🙂