Blogtober Day 5 – Continuing my post about doing my MSc Sci Comm project
On the morning of the Festival of Nature I was ready; I had spent an hour the night before cutting up sticky stars for voting on the photos and was equipped with my public engagement skills to interest people in my project.
I had no problem encouraging people to vote on the photos; both young and old loved the display and I ran out of demographic surveys in the first two hours of the festival being open! The weekend went by in a blur of talking to people, chasing them to fill out demographic surveys, interviewing people about their perception of the photographs and discretely observing people from my friend’s stall.
I ran out of stars by the end of the first day and resorted to handing people pens so that they could still cast their vote! On the second day I went equipped with even more stars which my parents helped me cut up along with 100 demographic surveys; I wanted to take more but my dad pointed out that I would have to enter all this data into a spreadsheet at some point!
On the second morning I was properly prepared and after the steep learning curve of the first day I also printed out some signs to explain what the stall was all about when I wasn’t there and inviting people to vote without me telling them in person.
The second day was over even faster than the first and I was pleased to see my box bulging with data at the end of the day and the voting panels adorned with a galaxy of stars.
After all the excitement of having a stand at the Festival of Nature, what followed was quite dull. Counting the 590 votes that people had cast on the photographs was long but it was exciting to announce and contact the winner! Data entry is not so fun, especially when you have 137 paper surveys to put into a spreadsheet! Luckily the parents saved the day and read them out while I typed to make it go faster. Transcribing the interviews was more entertaining and I realised that a lot of people never really answer in full sentences as different thoughts entered people’s heads and they changed track. My voice was incredibly annoying and my polite poshness really shined when engaging in conversation with people when they just gave a yes/no answer.
I think overall, the experience taught me what I really like doing; talking to people and in a way, that’s why I really like my job at We The Curious touring Bristol with the Curious Cube (stay tuned for a post on this). Simply being in the moment, being busy and being able to interact with people made it a really successful weekend and no amount of data would have changed that.
Right now I’m in the process of writing up my findings in my dissertation which has been broken up by presenting what I’ve been doing to my course mates and lecturers. Now that’s over, I have just over a month to finish everything, bind and hand in my final piece of work then stroll into adult life feeling accomplished and ready to take on anything… let’s be honest, it probably won’t happen like that!