Week 4 Overview

Welcome to my Week 4 blog!

This week has been one of the busiest weeks I have had for the REU experience. Unfortunately, I had an unexpected illness in which my work has been delayed my work as I take care of my health. However, i’m extremely happy to find out this week that five participants have submitted interest for interviews. That is a huge accomplishment for my research team, and thus different interview appointments have been set up, including one that will take place this coming Saturday.

After further discussion with my mentors, Aehong and Patrick, our final deliverable’s will include concrete analysis of caregivers and respite care workers with a sketched out prototype in which the research team and I believe will be the best prototype that would allow proper communication and relationships between caregivers. Because the majority of the ten weeks are based in data collection and analysis primarily,  my team would like to have a set idea on how our prototype should be after the REU experience. This will allow any researcher who may take over after Flannery and I leave, to have a sense of where our research has gone with the data achieved. Flannery and I hope to continue to work on this project after the ten weeks and attempt to submit to CHI before December of this year.

The top challenge I have set myself this week, according to the timeline given, is to be able to analyze the data collection of interviews and have a table chart created with my mentors and research partner. Having a chart created can pivot our research and possibly change the focus of the study. This, from what I have learned, is a normal part of research experience. For example, as our research focuses on the general population of caregivers and respite workers in the Bloomington area, I have noticed trends in people with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Parkinson’s according to the set data we have so far. Thus, our research may shift on specifying those with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Parkinson’s, which I feel may be a great way to look at this since i’m discovering much of the retirement communities in the Bloomington area seems to focus on those specific individuals.



Mini U Event:


The mini-U event held on Tuesday went exceptionally well! I had an opportunity to participate in this community-based event and assisting Ben in collected data. Coincidentally, this research also focuses on older adults, but with paper circuits. I found this research to be beneficial for my own research as well. I noticed how older adults socialize with one another while setting their paper circuits to work. If a paper circuit does not work at first, the older adult felt more comfortable to ask their neighbor, who is also an older adult, for help instead of the lead researcher at the table. I feel this represents the self trust older people have with one another, which in previous data my research partner and I have seen.


Fourth Interview:

Our fourth interview was conducted at Bell Trace on Tuesday and the participant was extremely helpful and willing to support our research. What I found very interesting was at the end of the interview, the participant mentioned that they have participated in previous research with Ben Jelen from Informatics. It was a small world and surprise for us to note! Also, since my team and I were at Bell Trace, we decided to go to the front desk and distribute information about the research study and possibly recruit participants. Afterwards, we went to Comfort Keepers to distribute research information as well. Overall, we managed to reach out in person the facilities who would not contact us through phone or email.

Saturday Interviews:

On Saturday, my research team met to conduct two interviews. One was through phone call and the other was in person at Bell Trace. For our phone call interview, we had issues connecting through Skype and the participant’s phone did not allow call to go through their phone. We had to email the participant asking them to call our team instead. The phone interview went well and their responses to our interview yielded interesting perspectives, distinct from previous interviews. This participant is a caregiver to their grandmother and commits to continue throughout her grandmother’s lifetime. Our Bell Trace participant has been a caregiver for more than 35 years, which has made this person one of the longest assisting caregivers in Bell Trace. It was an insightful interview about this person’s history at Bell Trace and how the retirement community grew to better assist their residents and overcome barriers such as relationships and communication, which is our large focus for this study thus far.