– By Emma Palmer-Cooper
Firstly, thank you for visiting our site and keeping in touch. We are absolutely blown away by the level of interest the public has shown in our project already.
I feel very lucky to be part of this project, where I can combine a hobby with my work as a Public Involvement Officer. In this role, I help other researchers understand how to involve the public in every stage of their research, and how it can make research design better.
This is why we need you all to get involved! We know that people are interested to know if yarn-based activities and other creative pursuits promote wellbeing. We also want to know about these activities, but that is not necessarily what the public wants to know. As our research aims to inform the public, it makes sense to ask you all!
During the planning stages, we will also need your help. The kind of things we will ask could vary from ‘Which yarn feels the nicest?’ to ‘What are the most relaxing patterns to make?’, or ‘Does this make sense?’. Both Anne and I are psychology researchers by background, so we know about quite a few different ‘methods’ that could be used to answer a research question, once we have one. We need your help to decide which is best. Is it by doing interviews about participants’ crafting habits, or a short online questionnaire? Is it asking people to record how they feel each time they knit? Should we use brain scans or saliva samples? The possibilities are endless, and that is why we want to talk to you.
We will also need your help approaching people to take part in studies, once we are ready to start collecting data. We know a few people who could help, but you all belong to different communities, and together we can get lots of different people to take part.
Once we have results from our studies, we will need your input again. We will ask what you think the results mean, and how they should be reported so that everyone understands what we did and what we found. We will also need help getting the news of our findings out to people who would find them interesting. This could be by simply sharing it online, or helping us talk to other members of the public about what we did.
When we have finished a study, we will have to start all over again, deciding what to ask next, how to do the research, and what the results mean. That is why we call it the research cycle. So, there will be lots of opportunities for you to stick around and help, or you can dip in and out when you have the time. Some opportunities will be online and very quick; others might take a bit more time, we will be sure to make this clear when we advertise each activity.