This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Dr. Liu from the School of Nursing. Our project was called “Omega-3 Fatty Acid Nutritional Intervention Study”. Our goal was to determine whether omega-3 fatty acids had an effect on mother-child behavior and sleep quality. The recruitment criteria for participants were: mother-child willingness to participate, child was between the ages of 6 to 9, and neither mother or child was allergic to fish or had diabetes. It was required for the participants to come to three visits over the course of three months. Both mother and child had to take a nutritional supplement drink for 2 months. Compensation was given as an incentive for the participants.
As the researcher in charge of recruitment for mother-child pairs for this study, I learned that recruitment takes time. “Active recruitment”, doing outreach in public spaces such as parks and churches, was the most successful method to getting participants involved. Online and phone outreach for recruitment was less successful. Our strategy to offer referral fees to participants already in the study helped increase the number of mother-child pairs who were willing to participate. Through my research experience, I also learned how to improve my literature searches and how to analyze data from studies.
Participating in this research project made me better understand what research is and what it takes to be a researcher. This project allowed me to learn more about my interest in the nutrition field. I am eager to explore more research opportunities because this CURF experience sparked my interest in research.