Tuesday, May 30, 2017

URSP Student Katharine Lai Researches Researches the Perceptions of Behavioral Control Among College-Aged Students

As part of my capstone communication course, I was introduced to OSCAR and the possibility of pursuing a scholarly research project as an undergraduate. Immediately, I thought of my interest in mental health and decided I wanted to explore how to improve access to counseling and psychological services for students of George Mason University. After applying for and receiving a URSP research grant, I was able to follow my curiosity and develop a unique research question, collect data, and analyze results – setting me up for success in future academic and career opportunities. Through my research, I have learned invaluable skills which I can apply to my long-term career goal of creating a non-profit organization designed to give mentally disabled people access to quality health care and community inclusion. I have enhanced my writing, research, and time management abilities, learned about research ethics and protocols, and practiced presentational skills. While completing a research project from start to finish may seem daunting, on a weekly basis my tasks are manageable. I spend a good portion of time finding and reading existing research on the topic of mental health access, specifically looking at perceptions of behavioral control among college-aged students. While not researching, I am designing survey questions on the software program Qualtrics, sending emails asking for survey participants, or analyzing data using the statistical software SPSS. Throughout this semester, I have discovered how much I enjoy researching, synthesizing data, and being able to tangibly contribute to my academic field. OSCAR has given me such a valuable opportunity to expand my knowledge and appreciation of communication research.