After graduating from Seattle University with my Psychology major, I had the research training and knowledge of human psychology to get involved in a handful of different research jobs: I do contract research with Microsoft on facial recognition hardware, behavior identification and UI design with NoSchoolViolence.org, and most recently started a position with PRR’s research team. Though in many different roles, my actual responsibilities all overlap with some general, common research tasks: survey programming, writing literature reviews, synthesizing findings, reviewing literature and other resources, discussing the pros and cons of different methodologies, interacting with participants, and handling data. I took on these various positions because I wanted to see how social science research worked in the “real-world” outside of academia.
A common theme throughout my work is grappling with not just how to form a question and a way to answer it, but to understand the framing behind it: why do we use this particular method and not others? What do we get from this approach and what do we miss? What are our priorities and how do we consider the resources in front of us? To this end, I rely heavily on the statistics and research methods training I got from the 3030/3050 and 4030 courses. Additionally, the critical thinking skills that the SU Psychology Department so often emphasizes throughout their curriculum help me think creatively, synthesize different viewpoints, look to the big picture, and ask why it all matters. For me, this background of research methods and critical thinking has not only opened doors but also allowed me to walk through them with competence and confidence.