Reading, planning, and training

Happy 5th of July!

With visions of fireworks, barbecue, and red, white, and blue behind us, I suppose it’s time for another update.  Since I last wrote, I have kept busy and continued reading for my literature review.  Since the fledgling stage of this project I have read about 60 articles and book excerpts.  Naturally not every source I’ve read has been particularly useful for my study, but it has been interesting reading for the most part. Just when I think I’ve “finished” reading for my literature review, I find a new paper that leads me to a myriad of other sources to check out.  It’s really interesting to see so many different perspectives on one topic.  I find these different perspectives especially interesting as I look at the literature in both political science and psychology.  I am especially fascinated by their different methodological approaches to their research questions and how they have different standards for things like reliability and number of participants.

After collecting, condensing, and sorting my readings and notes by topic area, I have started drafting my literature review.  While I have about ten pages of it completed, it is certainly nowhere near complete in terms of breadth or depth (and especially style, grammar, and organization).  I plan to continue refining it over the next few weeks, and realistically, throughout the year as it becomes increasingly apparent which aspects of my reading are most relevant to my thesis and its theoretical foundations.

I also spent some time designing the pretest survey in Qualtrics and creating other materials for pilot testing.  I drafted a long, detailed protocol check list and am in the process of figuring out what needs to be updated for the IRB.

Next week I am attending the Summer Institute in Political Psychology at Stanford University and will spend three weeks getting specialized training in political psychology research methods.  I’m really looking forward to applying this training to my thesis.  I also am looking forward to discussing my research design with graduate students and professors from around the world to receive as much feedback as I can before I begin my experiment.  I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity that would not be possible without assistance from the Charles Center, the Government Department, and all of those who contributed to my honors fellowship.



  1. mjschwenzfeier says:

    Hi Taylor,

    I definitely agree with you about how reading lists for literature reviews just keep growing! I think the way you organized the writing process sounds really efficient though – I’m working right now on trying to get all of my reading and notes organized so I can outline my lit review and see where I still have gaps in my understanding of the field.