Thursday, February 9, 2017

Federal Work-Study student Ha Nguyen Studies the Health of Nail Salon Workers

Since the summer of 2016 I have been working with Dr. Anna Pollack from the Department of Community and Global Health on her pilot research on the Health of Nail Salon Workers. As her research assistant in this project, I have been involved in translating the drafted questions of the survey to capture the information we needed into Vietnamese and learning how to navigate Qualtrics to enable the process of online data collection to be more user-friendly. Additionally, I also participate in finding prospective participants and interviewing them for our projects.

On one hand, I continuously practice my interpersonal communication skills when approaching prospects, bilingually in both English and Vietnamese. I learn to connect with people and introduce them to our study. Essentially, I compare my experience to cold networking where the prospects are extremely skeptical and as a result I learned a great deal on the arts of persuasion.

On the other hand, I have the chance to look more closely into the methodology of our recruitment. As the project moves onward, our research team finds that referrals from recruited participants have played a major significance in the data collection process. Therefore, Dr. Pollack introduced me to the academic methods of studying hidden populations such as snowball sampling and other forms of chain referral samples, and respondent-driven sampling. “Hidden populations” are considered to have two characteristics: no sampling frame exists and there exist strong privacy concerns; and our population target of nail salon workers indeed falls into this category.

It is so interesting and fascinating for me to learn about these methodologies and at the same time see how it is applied to our research. Since I will be conducting my own research about the rise of private tutoring industry in Vietnam and its responding government policies in this upcoming Spring Semester for a research class, these experiences have provided me extremely valuable insights.