A researcher

I suffer from an incurable case of curiosity. In conjunction with that, my mind automatically goes from noticing something interesting to:

  1. digging down to a foundational research question
  2. designing a way to find the answer to it

Case in point: this morning I went to the tiny gym up the road and noticed, as I always do, that there are four posters on the wall. Two are of Arnold Schwarzenegger, one is of Conor McGregor, one is of Muhammad Ali and one is of a forest.

Arnold Shwarzenegger achieved many things, and is a role model for high achievement in a sport. He also cheated on his wife, Maria Shriver, and fathered a child with his mistress. He let Maria defend him in public for decades and never came clean until she confronted him with the truth.

Conor McGregor has achieved incredible things in sport. He also has a staggering record of violence, including several allegations of sexual violence against women.

Muhammad Ali achieved incredible things in sport in the face of daunting barriers, including racism and religious discrimination. He also treated women terribly.

I am reminded of this every single time I go to the gym, and see these posters. What would happen if I were to approach the people who run the gym and ask if it might be possible to replace at least the most prominent poster of Schwarzenegger, the one over the clock, with one of Katie Taylor, Megan Rapinoe or Katie-George Dunlevy? More to the point…

Research question: Would the gender proportion of gym attendants be affected if posters of men were replaced with posters of women?

Beginnings of research design outline: I know from experience that there are way more men than women who use the gym. I’ve also seen it in the names in the sign in book. One would need a baseline survey pre poster replacement, that could be drawn from the sign in book, but not everyone signs in, and what would privacy concerns be, would you have to get full informed consent or is this non-invasive enough to only get consent from the gym owner, especially if you’re just counting men/women and how would you know that, of course there are typical male and typical female names but what if there’s a whole group of women in my tiny town who have gender-neutral sounding or even male-sounding names who all happen to attend the gym and….

Because I think like this to the point of exhaustion I would say I am a researcher.

Read more about my PhD research here.

See presentations I’ve done here.

See posters from past academic conferences here.

Find peer-reviewed journal articles here. At the time I write this there’s only one, but if all goes to plan this list will grow slowly but surely.