Scooters on treadmills – final week

The final push. It is hard to describe how this week felt, it was a melange of so many feelings. A mixture of relief and sadness, with our part in the project coming to an end.  This week was full of unexpected surprises.



On the first day, we had some testing. However, we were constantly running into issues during the calibration of the required equipment. Initially, we thought it was a problem with the machine, however after some investigating, we found that the bag that we were using to calibrate had a leak in it. Unfortunately, we had this problem whilst we had a participant with us which did make me a bit nervous. Luckily, the participant was very understanding and patient of our situation. However, this also taught me to make sure to always keep the participant informed about what was going on during the procedure at all times to make sure that they always felt comfortable and at ease.

On the second day, everything seemed to be going smoothly until I heard a faint noise whilst our participant was on scooter during the procedure. Upon closer inspection, we found that the rear tyre of the scooter had been punctured. Following this, we found out that the tyre could not be repaired in time which marked an abrupt and anticlimactic end to our testing. But, if anything, the experience taught me that in the field of research you will always have setbacks and unexpected events that could happen at any time, and you should try your best to be prepared. Luckily, however, we had been able to collect the data of enough participants to still continue with the next stage of the study: Data Analysis.

Before we could continue with data analysis, there was one thing left to do which was the entry of the data into our excel spreadsheets, and I was absolutely dreading it. With so many numbers on the screen all at once, it was almost like my mind was going blank. Eventually, I did get it done, but it was not without its challenges! In hindsight, I am glad that I got the opportunity to do it. It taught me that sometimes to get your desired outcome, you may have to do things that you do not necessarily find enjoyable, and I believe that is something that can applied to all aspects and is not something that is exclusive to research. The lessons you can learn from research that can be applied to many different aspects are often surprising in number, and I am glad that I have got the opportunity to be the recipient of them.

The next couple of days were spent doing Data analysis on SPSS. As I had never had the chance to use SPSS before, it was rather exciting for me. It was really interesting how Sam and Katrina could interpret the results so quickly and effortlessly from all the many numbers that were on the screen. It all seemed like a foreign language to me.

The past 6 weeks that I have spent in this role have been invaluable to me and it truly is an experience that has equipped me with knowledge and skills that I will use for the rest of my academic career and my life. Sam and Katrina were immensely supportive and always there to help, I was extremely lucky to have them. I also could not have asked for a better colleague who was always cooperative and willing to help. While I am happy that we are coming to a conclusion, I will miss the time spent in my role, I do not think I could have spent my summer in a better way!