Monday, April 26, 2010

Undergraduate research news - spring 2010

Four undergraduate students – Travis Marquiss (Justice), Kris Sperry (Justice), Sommer Thomas (Justice), and Kandi Keith (Psychology) – successfully completed JUSTICE 398 Individual Research projects under the guidance of Dr. Brad Myrstol, Justice faculty. Each student played an integral role in two mixed-mode surveys conducted by the Justice Center: the Anchorage Community Survey, 2009 and the 2010 Northwest Arkansas Community Survey.

Each of these studies explores social capital and community connectedness. (Social capital refers to the level of collaboration and cooperation in a community, as seen in shared trust, values, and understanding.) The projects provided these students with invaluable real-world research experiences spanning each stage of the research process. Over the course of the semester the team learned about sampling, executed multiple mailings (including pre-notification letters, cover letters, questionnaires, as well as follow-up postcards and questionnaires), entered and cleaned both quantitative and qualitative data, and performed descriptive data analyses.

Through his grant funding, Dr. Myrstol was able to offer each student a scholarship for the 3-4 upper division Justice credits they earned. The final reports for these studies will be published in October 2010.

The student research team is pictured (l to r) Travis Marquiss, Kris Sperry, Sommer Thomas, and Kandi Keith.