The Research Lab team
We spoke to the Research Lab team to find out more about the important role the lab plays in faculty research. We uncovered details about how staff and students can participate in research studies and earn some money for contributing. We also found out more about the team and what they like to do outside work.
Who’s who? From left to right:
OW: Oliver Waddup- Lab Assistant, SM: Sharmay Mitchell- Lab Assistant, ZC: Zareen Choudhury- Lab Manager
What does the Research Lab do?
We are an interdisciplinary lab with cutting-edge facilities open to London Business School researchers who employ behavioural research methods. We carry out controlled lab-based, online and field experiments to collect data for the research studies of the faculty (and students supervised by faculty) at the School. We offer other research assistance support and have a pool of casual RAs to draw on when additional support is needed.
What kind of research is the lab conducting?
We conduct academic, behavioural research studies that take place either in the lab, online or outside in the real world. Faculty/PhD students formulate their hypotheses and then speak to Zareen to iron out the logistics of running their studies. Then they will fill out a booking form to confirm all of the relevant details needed for the lab team to run their study.
The lab team test the study materials and run through a study as though we are participants to ensure everything makes sense and fits within the allotted timeframe. Too long and participants become inattentive; too short and we might be able to add in another study to collect more data. Online studies are usually shorter, from 2-20 minutes, and participants are paid in Amazon vouchers, either through an agreed payment or entry into a prize draw.
Who can participate in research studies and what’s in it for them?
Participants must have a research account with the School’s Research Lab and they must be over 18. Much of our participant pool is made up of people living, working or studying in the area. As travel into London is expensive, our participants tend to be people who are living, working or studying in the area, who already have a reason for travelling into central London. The lab team recruit for participants in the local area to make the most of this, but we also recruit more widely online and also at university fresher fairs across London.
Sometimes our researchers will request specific criteria such as participants of a certain age, gender, etc. We can recruit for studies based on these criteria. For more specific criteria, a pre-survey may be needed to identify the relevant sample. We can also recruit for participants using restrictions or pre-requisites of past study participations.
Faculty are welcome to visit us for a tour of the lab or to find out what the lab team can assist with.
What does a typical day look like in the lab?
There really is no such thing as a typical day at the Lab; literally every day is different! One day we’re setting up a lab-based study, the next day we’re at Stansted airport collecting data!
What do you enjoy most about your role?
ZC: I like the variety of my role. There’s always something new and exciting happening to keep me on my toes and get me thinking of solutions and new ways to improve things.
SM: I like the diversity of the role and the team I work with. I like seeing the results of all of our hard work. I like to think we have the best-run lab in the UK. So far there is no evidence to refute this, so I will claim it as fact!
OW: Running experiments and collecting data is the most enjoyable aspect of my role. Observing differences in responses, as a result of a participant viewing a specific piece of stimuli, has been fascinating to me since I began studying Psychology in my undergraduate degree.
When a participant completes a questionnaire, they often complete a series of questions. Each question then holds meaning as numbers can be assigned to each question item. Seeing how these numbers translate to real-life behaviour (how people think, feel and behave) is extremely addictive.
What do you like most about working at the School?
ZC: I love the community spirit at the School; everyone is really helpful. There are a lot of cat enthusiasts around the School and I enjoy talking to them all!
SM: I like the people and the work environment at the Lab. I love the flower boxes around the School and I notice and appreciate every time new flowers are planted.
OW: The community that is felt throughout the school. Staff are extremely friendly and I always feel at ease approaching anyone about anything. Summer and winter celebrations are extremely enjoyable as they offer opportunities to mingle with those you don’t often get to meet.
What do you like to do outside work?
ZC: I’m really into cosplaying – a type of costume-performance art that’s popular with fans of anime, manga and comics. Something that might be surprising about me is that I have an Amazon blue-fronted parrot, a canary, some chickens and a hamster. Really I’m a cat person but I have too many cat-edible pets to actually own a cat!
SM: Outside of work, I create at least one new thing every day. I’m currently into over 740 consecutive days of creating something new. I write a lot of poetry, make jewellery, digital art, surface pattern designs in my spare time. I enjoy travelling- if I’m on annual leave, I’m likely in another part of the world. Some surprising facts about me – I can juggle, face paint, and I write and perform short stories and puppet shows for children. I designed earrings for Issa Rae and she featured them in the YouTube series she had before she became more famous.
OW: I love playing my guitar and socialising with friends whenever I can. I am always looking to travel to a place I have never been before. If I’m not abroad, I’m saving up for the next trip.