Ok, I guess I am following suit and forgot to post on Friday! I don’t have quite as good of an excuse as Katie. Instead of prepping for conferences I was recovering from a vacation.

I thought it might be nice to provide an update about the Exploratorium project, where NOAA scientists are embedded on the museum floor with the Explainers (Exploratorium front-line staff consisting of young adults). I have collected so much data for this project I am beginning to feel overwhelmed.

Here’s the data that I have collected:
– Formal Interviews with each of the four groups of scientists, both before and after their experience.
– Informal interviews with all of the scientists. These were done in the time walking back to the hotel or when grabbing lunch. Both great times to collect data!
– Interviews with the two Explainer managers plus a survey with open- and closed-ended questions at the end of year 2.
– Interviews with each of the lead Explainers, 8 total. Also, lead Explainers during year 2 completed a survey with open- and closed-ended questions.
– Pre- mid- and post- data for what Explainers think atmospheric sciences is and what atmospheric scientists do. This was not done during the first year topic of ocean sciences.
– I also provided an optional survey for all Explainers so they could share their thoughts and opinions about the project. This provided a reflection opportunity for the Explainers that were not lead Explainers during the project.
– Visitor surveys about their experience in the scientists’ installation. During year 2 these were collected in both paper form and using survey software on the iPad.
– Field notes during meetings and time on the museum floor. During year 2 the field notes were taken on the iPad using survey software.
– And lastly…personal daily reflections.

So the question is “now what?” This data provides opportunities for triangulation but where does one start? I’m spending my final month of summer trying to figure that out.

Hopefully my next blog post will showcase my progress and some findings.

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4 thoughts on “So much data, so little time.

  1. In part I am testing the comment section. (had problems before)
    My comment doesn’t relate directly to your research

    Had a memorable trip to Oceanexplorium in New Bedford MA this summer. The tiny-weeny hands-on museum filled a family’s rainy afternoon with fun for all generations. Highlight: the kids feeding all the tanks. My daughter fed the jellies.

    Does Hatfield liaison with the Oceanexplorium? They were putting a big emphasis on bringing in teachers for training for field trips.


    Good luck on sorting thru data. look forward to hearing what works.

  2. Hi Jinnet –

    I’m not aware of any current official collaboration with the Oceanexplorium, but we work with them through National Marine Educators’ Association, for example. However, we’re always open to new partnerships if the occasion arises; are you thinking of working with teachers or with the Oceanexplorium?

  3. Michelle – Wow, that is a lot. How did you record data from the “informal” interviews walking on the way back and forth to lunch, for example? Also, what kind of data on what explainers think atmospheric science is? Was this also interviews or a more formal survey?

    • Those are both great questions, Katie. I wouldn’t necessarily say I “recorded” the informal interviews on walks. I tended to do my personal reflections at the end of each day and would write about it there. I should clarify that the types of questions I would ask at these times were things like “How do you think the floor activities are going so far?” or “Are you satisfied with the amount of time you have with Explainers?” So none of the answers were really too in depth and I would’t say I recorded quotations but more general ideas.

      As for the questions I asked the Explainers. I did this at three points over the year: on the first day in the fall with the severe storms scientists, on the first day in the fall with the climate & weather prediction scientists, and on the final day altogether in the spring. My initial plan was to only collect this twice, at the very first meeting in the fall and on the final day in the spring but I thought their ideas might change as the focus switched from the two topics of the year- severe storms and climate/weather predictions. I gave each of the Field Trip Explainers*, young adults who stay in the position for ~2 years, a notecard and had them answer “What do you think atmospheric sciences is?” and “What do you think atmospheric scientists do?” They were given ~5 minutes to write their responses on the notecard. I’m not sure if or how I will use the data in the final report but I plan to read over them and code for re-occurring themes like we would interviews or open-ended responses on surveys.

      *Just in case people aren’t familiar with the Exploratorium’s front-line staff. There are two groups: High School Explainers (HSE) and Field Trip Explainers (FTE). As you could guess, the HSE are all in high school, or just graduated high school. They work in the afternoons and on weekends. The FTE are young adults interested in education even though they come from a variety of backgrounds. They work weekday mornings (when field trips come in).

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