I spent most of the week doing research on memory and have decided to shift from doing an experiment to writing a research paper. Last semester, Lily and I adapted a survey on mental illness stigma. The process from adapting the survey to distributing it to analyzing the results was extremely time consuming. The hardest part was getting enough participants. We strained ourselves and all of our resources and still did not even get a fourth of the Upper School to take the survey. Doing a memory experiment would be even harder to get mass participation because the instructions are somewhat complex and need to be explained in person. This means that people could not take the test on their own time. Also, I tried some of them and doing two trials, which would be the bare minimum takes at least 15 minutes. It is for those reasons that I decided to write a research paper.
I spoke with Teacher Margaret and she said that it does not need to be a psychological research paper and can instead, take on the format of a literature review. Literature reviews do not explain findings from an original study. Instead, they analyze already existing studies and tie them into a thesis much like the dreaded Othello paper that all Westtown seniors had to write.
I have doing research without much success. I will go to the library to ask for help this week. Still, I found a study called Long-term working memory. Dr. Ericsson and Dr. Kintsch tested how memory acquisition skills affect long term memory. They concluded that using various memory acquisition skills such as writing, speaking, and visualization were more effective than rote memorization in creating concrete long term memories. The study was conducted in 1995 which not a problem in and of itself but I have been having trouble finding more recent studies. Psychology as well as memorization tactics have progressed in the past 20 years and I would like to read more recent studies. All in all, I think that once I talk to Teacher Betsy or Teacher Victoria I will have more success with my research.