Omega-3 Fatty Acid Nutritional Intervention Study


Engineering and Applied Sciences


Associate Professor of Nursing

Project Summary

This summer I worked with a group of undergraduate students on the Omega-3 Fatty Acid Nutritional Intervention Study. The specific aims of my research team were to determine whether omega-3 fatty acids can improve parenting styles in mothers as well as behavior in both children and mothers, to determine whether omega-3 fatty acids can improve sleep quality in both children and mothers, and to determine the efficacy of various recruitment strategies of mother-child pairs. Prior to this study, I had no research experience, so working on a study from the first stage was very enlightening. First, our team had to have a clear hypothesis and goal before we began planning the study. This lead to us learning effective strategies for literature searching to determine where the literature was lacking on omega-3 fatty acids. After we constructed a hypothesis, we needed to find the proper instruments to evaluate the different aspects of health we were interested in. The instruments then had to be inputted into RedCap, which is a website that helps administer surveys. Previously, I had never heard of RedCap, but I learned most of its functionality this summer and was able to build a study from the ground up. After preparing the study, we had to focus on recruiting subjects that matched our specific criteria. I was surprised by how difficult recruitment was. Our team had to visit many different areas around Philadelphia and come up with creative advertisement strategies. Once recruitment was completed, we had to schedule the subjects and create a protocol for the research team members. This process helped teach me about the many small details that are necessary to properly conduct research. Our team had to book research space, make sure we had all of the necessary consent forms, find a vendor for the omega-3 drinks, make sure everything was done in compliance with HIPAA, etc. Overall, it was an eye-opening experience that gave me a great background of all the components of a proper research study.