2. Common tasks

Learn how to perform some common tasks in the lab

After finishing part 2, you should:

  • Know how to collect papers for a research project

  • Be able to manage the lab's email account with HubSpot, including responding to tricky emails from participants

  • Be able to preregister an experiment

Step 1: Collecting papers

A common task for research assistants in the lab is to seek and find research papers relevant to the project you are working on. In this part of the tutorial, we'll show you how to do that.

Read the how-to guide

Read the Collecting papers section of the How to do a lit review instructions, linked below:

Practice adding papers to a collection

Next, you'll practice adding papers to a collection by adding to our Lila collection. First, use Google Scholar to search for a paper by Lila Gleitman from the year you were born (or another year you like, if you don't want to reveal your age).

Then, paste the APA citation and abstract into the Lila Gleitman Collection (Training) thread in the into the #Lab Papers channel. Make the citation in bold and the abstract in plain text. You can get the citation from the quotes button under a paper on Google Scholar. Use the APA version of the citation.

Use the " button to get the APA citation

Practice adding papers to Zotero

Finally, add the citation to the lab's bibliography manager (Zotero). Login to Zotero and go to the Web Library: https://www.zotero.org/childlanglab/library. Click on the group library childlanglab in the sidebar and then click the magic wand to enter a URL to add to the library.

Add your paper to the childlanglab Group Library with the magic wand

Step 2: Check lab email

Everyone in the lab is responsible for making sure we check the lab's shared email account and send friendly, prompt responses to our participants.

Ask Ariel to grant you access to our HubSpot email manager if you haven't already!

Read how to email

Read our how-to guide for working with our lab's shared email account and getting the tone right in your responses to participants.

Prepare to practice

We want you to practice using the lab's email and responding to sticky situations. To prepare, send three emails from you (your own email) to [email protected].

  1. Scenario #1, study not working: put (Yourname Training) Study not working in the subject line. Write a short note in the body of the email pretending you are a parent and the study link didn't work for you.

  2. Scenario #2, participant not paid: put (Yourname Training) Not paid in the subject line. Write a short note in the body of the email pretending you are a participant who did not receive payment.

  3. Scenario #3, expired service: put (Yourname Training) Something expired in the subject line> Write a short note in the body of the email pretending a service we use will expire soon.

Practice assigning emails

Log in to the lab's email and assign the Study not working and Not paid emails you just sent (in the step above) to yourself. Assign the Something expired email to Ariel.

Practice getting the tone right

For the two emails you assigned yourself, write a real response to practice getting the tone right. We'll give you feedback if we think your tone was overly formal or overly casual. Here is some additional information you might need to know about how to handle certain emails:

  • Participant not paid: If a participant doesn't get paid, we apologize and offer to pay them right away. There is no need to double-check whether they "deserve" payment. We'll take their word for it unless it becomes a frequent issue (it never has).

  • Study not working: If a study doesn't work for someone, we apologize, thank them for letting us know, and offer to pay them anyway. Again, we don't overanalyze whether they "deserve" payment. Our studies are often $5 compensation, so it's worth it to maintain the relationship to just pay everyone who encounters issues, no matter what.

Mark complete

Once you've responded to the emails you assigned yourself, mark them complete to practice this aspect of the process. It's important to mark emails complete to let everyone know that they've already been handled and prevent our inbox from becoming unruly and important issues falling through the cracks.

Step 3: Preregistration

When working on a lab project, you may be asked to preregister an experiment, or to view or work with an existing preregistration. We use AsPredicted.org for preregistration in our lab. Create an account and practice using AsPredicted by following these steps:

  1. Click the Create button

  2. Click the I am just trying things out checkbox

  3. Add Katie (Kathryn Schuler) and Ariel (Ariel Mathis) as Participating Authors

  4. Fill out the nine questions — just insert any text into the boxes, it's just for practice.

  5. Make sure the name (#9) is informative (e.g. "Joanie's test prereg")

  6. Click Preview

  7. Preview your submission and click Submit

  8. Approve the submission

Preregistration will look like this!

Great work! You are finished with part 2 of the Onboarding Tutorial