Research Lab of His Own?
Alas, I no longer has a research lab of my own. It was a hard
decision, and miss the type of mentorship that allowed. At the
moment, however, I am pretty darn happy with my new research
what are you doing then?
I traded co-running an quirky
undergraduate lab with an awesome sociologist (Dr.
Nicholas Rowland) for running the Research
Support Group's Lab within the Center
for Teaching, Research and Learning at American University.
This lab supports faculty, staff, and students from across
American University. Most of our support goes to the College
of Arts and Sciences, the School of International Services,
and the School of Public Affairs, but we also provide
assistance to many people in the Kogod School of Buisness, the
School of Professional and Extended Studies, and the
Washington College of Law. We have also provided support for
many staff offices, including the Registrar and the Office of
Institutional Research and Assessment.
In addition to helping people plan and implement studies, we
support a wide variety of research
software, including SPSS, STATA, SAS, Matlab, Python, R,
NVivo, ArcGIS, and Qualtrics. We offer workshops and in-class
tutorials in all these software, often highly customized to
the needs of a particular audience. To help with this, I run a
physical space (the lab), which has two rooms, 36 computers,
and 12 half-time graduate students ranging from 1st year
masters students to 5th year Ph.D. students. I help teach them
stuff, they teach me stuff, and we try to get a lot done while
still having a good time. I have learned a lot about analyses
done in different disciplines and figured out how to use and
support several software packages I had never used before.
Does that mean you have
stopped doing research?
I am still active in research.
Before this transition I did a lot of empirical-research
collaborations, with students and other faculty. Meanwhile
the focus of my "main line" of research slowly shifted to
history and theory. This stays true. One day I might return
to my own empirical research lines, and I have some really
interesting ideas at the ready when that happens. For now, I
am happy doing original research on various topics in the
history and theory of psychology, while collaborating with
others on empirical work.
This job is great for now.
In the future I would like to either get back on the
tenure-track or continue to advance in the realm of
research support. I miss being in the class room and
working with undergraduates, while also finding much
reward in developing my managerial skills and working with
a wider variety of faculty and graduate students.