Week 4

This week I worked on figuring out the methodology behind our user study. I worked closely with one of the PhD students in the group to discuss related papers on different methodologies for user studies and analyzing dependent variables in order to figure out how we will be setting up our user study. This also involved organizing the way in which we will be setting up the generated profiles. Since there are so many variables (artifacts and variations from a base profile) in a single profile, we need to make sure we are accounting for all differences between profiles and how those may lead to confounding variables.

We met with the project group and another professor in the department to get his opinion and input on our methodology, and it was a very helpful and informative meeting, especially for me because this side of research regarding setting up the problem, research questions, and methodology are pretty new to me. It is very valuable to learn all of these things through the experiences of my mentor and others in my group, and also through reading related papers.

This week I also attended the REU Lunch and Learn event on graduate school where we discussed why one would choose to go to graduate school and what the different options with respect to research are. It was a really great discussion, and my mentor was one of the panelists so it was great to hear about his decisions to attend graduate school and how he, in a way, got to where he is now.

Towards the end of the week, I worked on choosing profiles that will serve as our base to make variations for each occupation for which we are creating these LinkedIn profiles. I also worked on more scripts to extract and generate the profiles, and hopefully next week I will gain access to the group’s servers at UIUC to work more closely with the profile generation and the algorithms as we move to start generating profiles for the pilot study.

Written on July 10, 2020