Paul Sterzing, Professor

Closed (1) A qualitative exploration of LGBTQ+ community connection during the COVID-19 pandemic

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2021 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2021.

Social support from partners, family, friends, and other communities is known to help LGBTQ+ individuals manage their mental health and overall wellbeing. Access to social support is also known to help build resilience, making it easier to handle life’s challenges in constructive and healthy ways. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, access to social support changed for many people, including the LGBTQ+ community. There is a need to understand how the pandemic may have changed LGBTQ+ people’s connection to the LGBTQ+ community support, since these changes likely have implications for the community’s wellbeing.

The current research project is a part of a larger study at Columbia University that asked over 3,000 adults across the country about their experiences and wellbeing during the pandemic. Of those who participated in this study, over 300 identify as LGBTQ+ and were asked how close they were to the LGBTQ+ community before and during the pandemic. Participants in the study were also invited to write in responses about changes they noticed in their sense of connectedness to the LGBTQ+ community since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This project is seeking an Undergraduate Research Apprentice (URAP) to help analyze these written responses, identify broad themes, and describe these themes for a future academic journal article. The URAP will also help summarize background research on LGBTQ+ community support and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. This research opportunity is ideal for students interested in social welfare, gender and women’s studies, public health, psychology, and related fields, as well as those with an interest in qualitative research.

The Undergraduate Research Apprentice (URAP) will work with the research supervisor (Angie Wootton) once a week and with the faculty mentor (Dr. Paul Sterzing) monthly throughout the semester to receive support in completing study tasks including:

1) Complete training in NVivo qualitative data analysis software
2) Code or tag the written responses with broad themes in NVivo
3) Assist study supervisor in developing a preliminary codebook or list of themes
4) Re-code or tag the written responses based on this codebook
5) Identify brief participant quotes that exemplify these themes
6) Assist research supervisor in drafting paragraphs that define, explain, and give examples of themes
7) Read and summarize academic journal articles about LGBTQ+ community support and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic
8) Assist research supervisor in drafting these summaries into a background section of a journal article
9) Other study tasks that are determined to be a match for the URAP and research supervisor

At the end of this URAP project, students will have the skills to do basic qualitative data analysis in NVivo and will show increasing skills in reviewing and summarizing academic literature.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Angie Wootton, Graduate Student

Qualifications: • Computer literacy and ability to learn NVivo software • Excellent written and oral communication skills • Interest in reading and summarizing academic journal articles • Attention to detail • Familiarity with LGBTQ+ issues and terminology • Strong academic record Students who have personal experience as an LGBTQ+ person and an interest in learning research skills are especially encouraged to apply.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Off-Campus Research Site: The project will also require off-campus / virtual meetings via Zoom.

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