Panel navigates research process during a changing landscape


Screen shot of zoom participants

Panelists participated in the February 15th virtual event, “From Concept to Creation: Uncovering the making of scholarly and creative accomplishments.”

Image: Kate Morgan

The process of creating a scholarly and creative research piece can be daunting. But for the three panelists — a Penn State Lehigh Valley (PSU-LV) professor, staff member and student — on last week’s “From Concept to Creation: Uncovering the making of scholarly and creative accomplishments,” the research process is quite compelling. The goal of the presentation was to highlight the inner workings and rough edges of the research process by describing steps, skills, habits and attitudes key to inquiry experiences rather than focusing on the final polished product.

“By sharing these things, we hope to promote transparency and accessibility of the research process, as well as identify tools for research and encourage others to think about their own ideas and processes.”

–Kate Morgan, instructional designer

“By sharing these things, we hope to promote transparency and accessibility of the research process, as well as identify tools for research and encourage others to think about their own ideas and processes,” said Kate Morgan, instructional designer at PSU-LV.

Morgan and Jen Jarson, head librarian at Penn State Lehigh Valley, launched the series in 2018 to facilitate conversation about the hidden components of research to break down barriers to academic inquiry.

The panelists included Tai-Yin Huang, professor of physics at PSU-LV; Kristy Hove, director of planning and analysis for PSU-LV; and Isabella Hanna, PSU-LV class of 2021, who is studying to receive her bachelor’s degree in health policy and administration with a minor in psychology.

Huang received her doctoral degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1999. Her work includes the study of gravity waves, dynamics, airglow chemistry and energetics in the mesosphere lower thermosphere region, lights or lightning induced transient emissions of airglow, global warming and climate change.

Hove helps establish PSU-LV’s strategic planning efforts, initiate polls and analyze official data, develop surveys and interact with administration, faculty and staff on projects to continually progress the campus forward. Hove received her master’s degree in political science from Lehigh University and her bachelor’s degree in political science from Muhlenberg College. She is pursuing her doctoral degree in higher education leadership from Notre Dame of Maryland.

Hanna is studying the effects of the opioid epidemic on secondary exposure and how the pandemic is impacting the opioid epidemic. Hanna is hoping to have her research published before graduation.

The panel’s focus was to assess and discuss how each member adapted their research in the remote work context during the pandemic. When asked to address how they took their first steps, each panelist described how crucial it is to gather as much data as possible as part of the initial planning phase. Huang stressed the importance of familiarizing yourself with your field and to read the work of another researcher first. Hove agreed, explaining how foundational research needs to be completed first in order to determine next steps. Hanna noted that maintaining a calm attitude is helpful as is connecting with any available resources one may have at their disposal.

Huang explained that the fascination with the unknown paved her research path. For Hove, it was her background in grant writing that led her to her current role of creating PSU-LV’s five-year strategic plan. Hanna became interested in her research matter after wanting to learn more about topics discussed in her class. The panelists discussed how the process has changed them into researchers who can accept flexibility, trust the process and understand when to take an empathetic approach.

The panelists were asked to discuss how working remotely has affected their processes and what lessons were learned, if any. Huang explained how the lack of in-person conferences means there is less organic sharing, thus limiting new ideas. Huang learned that at times you need more information before you can move forward. Hove explained how certain pieces must fall into place and cannot be forced. Hanna highlighted how she had to learn new ways to connect with patients to build the relationships without face-to-face contact. The presentation presented a unique opportunity for the audience to understand the research process and how to adapt when needed. Each panelist used their unique experiences to demonstrate how research is a process to be celebrated.

“From Concept to Creation: Uncovering the making of scholarly and creative accomplishments” was hosted by the Library at Penn State Lehigh Valley on Feb. 15,. The full presentation can be viewed here.

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