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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Health and Wellbeing Lab researches impact of different health behaviors on mood

Working and collaborating with faculty, students gain practical experience with different stages of the research process.
Rory Mahoney
David Disabato standing in front of his Health and Well-Being Lab.

The Health and Well-being lab located in the Malicky Center provides undergraduate psychology students with the opportunity to conduct research under the supervision of relevant faculty. 

David Disabato, a psychology professor at Baldwin Wallace University, runs the lab and has been working with students to develop a plan for a study.  

Diasabato said this study will involve a series of interviews with its subjects in order to study the impact of different health behaviors over a two-week period. Students will also be trained on diagnostic material for the purposes of data analysis.

While data collection for this project will not begin likely until the spring semester, Disabato said that data collection is only one-third of the research process. 

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Preparation for data collection can take one or more semesters. The remainder of the time is spent cleaning data, processing it, analyzing it, writing it up and interpreting it.  

“It can be harder to get students involved with like advanced statistical analyses and, you know, scientific writing at quality for publication,” Disabato said.

Rihab Shahin, a psychology and creative writing double major, has been working for Disabato’s lab since October 2023.  

“It’s pretty important to get research experience, especially if you’re planning on going to grad school,” Shahin said. “One of the great things about like the BW psychology department is that professors are always like doing research.”  

The Psychology department distributed a document at the beginning of fall 2023 offering research opportunities for professors in the department.  

While the project is still in its beginning stages, there is still plenty of work to do for the students involved. Shahin works five to 10 hours a week doing the tasks Disabato assigned, and said there was “not necessarily a due date” as long as everything was ready before the research proposal is sent to the Institutional Review Board. 

Bri Meredith, a senior psychology major said that among the work Shahin, and the other students are working on transcribing previous data and organizing data sets, students involved with psychology-related research must undergo training to ensure they are following proper ethical guidelines,  

“I had to make sure I’m collecting data anonymously and [honestly],” Meredith said,  “We’re trained to work with humans and to keep their confidentiality and we know how to work with that data.” 

Meredith is one of the three students who works for Disabato’s lab this semester and plans to continue in the following semester. Meredith said once the research team starts conducting interviews, the students will be trained on how to analyze psychological questionnaires and other diagnostic tools.  

As a graduating senior, Meredith said it has been difficult to balance the workload between their classes, thesis development and the designated number of hours required for the research each week. Meredith has been able to find more enjoyment in the research project over time. 

A common consensus from both the professor and students has been the importance of finding a project one is interested in.  

“[Students] often become interested in research because they are interested in a particular topic. And I think one of the things that you want to find out for yourself is are you interested in the research process?” Disabato said.  

Meredith encourages students to reach out to professors if they are interested in doing research. “Initially [I was] doing it for career experience. But now it is also like this is fun, learning a lot,” Meredith said.  

Last edited Feb. 5

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