Run your psycholinguistic experiment: an adventure game for the whole family

  1. Find experiment idea. You fish in the project proposal and come up with something doable and simple enough to do while learning a new methodology.
  2. Find a German student to prepare the linguistic stimuli. She ends up hating you when you tell her about all the constraints that she needs to take into account when writing the sentences.
  3. Find enough pictures for the experiment’s visual stimuli. Realise that it is nearly impossible to find 3 copyright-free images of a clothes rack on the web. Blame the wasteful American lifestyle which uses dryers rather than clothes racks.
  4. Present the idea and some preliminary stimuli to a group of experts, who keep bringing up potential flaws. Find the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change what can be changed, and the wisdom to know the one from the other.
  5. Norm your stimuli. Find out that you have very few options to get data from German speakers: (1) crowdsourcing (not enough German participants), (2) begging people to do your tests online for free (your University policies don’t allow you to reward them with an Amazon Gutschein lottery), (3) send another German student around campus with a bunch of ipads and candy. You opt for (3) but feel very sorry for the student who’s doing that.
  6. Record the audio stimuli. This one is easy but only because the phoneticians have their shit together. You thank the phoneticians.
  7. While (5) is still in progress, try and program your experiment. You receive a bunch of mysterious python scripts from your boss, but have no way of decoding what they are for. Procrastinate on solving this mystery.
  8. You find out that the lab is booked for the next 2 weeks. You resort to programming your experiment on one of the lab’s laptop.
  9. You find out only laptop1 has software1, which you need. You find out that that is exactly the laptop running also software2, which another person needs to run their study.
  10. Try and install software1 on laptop2. Start a mini adventure quest to end up with 3 passwords you may need, 2 trips to the tech help, 1 windows activation key, 0 ways of installing the same software version that the lab computers are using.
  11. Your boss tells you to install software2 on laptop2, so you can use software1 on laptop1. You realise you don’t have the activation key for software2. You find the activation key for software2 and beg your colleague to do the laptop swap so you can start programming your study.
  12. The conference deadline is in 9 days and your boss still thinks you can run a pilot by then. Give up and considering getting that driving license to start a new successful career in truck driving.


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