To a person, six of the seven Lawrence High School students that conducted original research for a half dozen social science projects said that they enjoyed doing it. That must be the primary reason that the prestigious Association for Psychological Science selected their projects for presentation at the May 24-27 convention in San Francisco.
Jece Abuan, Ariana Brown, Alicia Etwaru, Stacy Portillo, Bhawan Sandhu and Eric Kolchinskiy and Nicholas Williams, seniors all except for Sandhu, a sophomore, conducted research for a variety of projects, under the guidance of Lawrence High social Studies teacher Dr. Stephen Sullivan. All are going to California for the first time.
“I learned I like doing research, I like the whole process,” said Abuan, whose project is “Can Question Wording Impact Self-reported Concern for the Environment?” and has been a part of this research program for three years. “I want to study biomechanical engineering [in college]. I learned now had to research and once in college I can do it on my own or with others.”
Brown realized that not all research goes according to plan. Her project is, “Student heritage as a factor influencing performance on and perception of historical reasoning tasks. ” ‘I learned from it,” she said, sitting with her peers at the conference table in the principal’s office. “ The DBQs [document based questions] scores didn’t show what we though they would,” Brown said.
The Dark Triad — Machiavellianism, Psychopathy and Narcissism — are at the heart of Etwaru’s project and their impact traits on the adolescent ability to form and maintain friendships. “I learned that everyone has these traits,” she said, it affects why they choose certain friends and who they trust.” Adding that she loved doing the research, as it could help in college, especially studying child adolescence.
Sullivan kidded Portillo about getting to show “cheesecake” photographs. Her topic, “Can Exposure to Muscularity-Idealizing Images Promote Self-Objectification in Adolescent Males?” is a serious one. “It was fun, because it’s something very useful to people,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for the male gender to see how they think they are more self-conscious.”
Though speaking with a generation that has grown up with electronic devices, Sandhu’s and Kolchinskiy’s “Advantages of hand-written note taking versus laptop use in a youth sample: Phase II,” struck a chord. This was Kolchinskiy’s first year doing this research and he dove right in. “I still take handwritten notes, “ he said. “When I was a sophomore and got lazy, I used my laptop. Through the writing process, people seem to remember more.”
Williams learned which teachers he should ask for a favorable reference after completing the research for “Is there a ‘halo effect’ in teacher assessments of student personality and well-being?” “I found that there is a halo effect at school,” he said. “There is a social aspect who is liked more, a lot more and why.”