Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Pilot data collection, TUG

For the "up and go" research into older adults, this week some preliminary data was colleceted on a group of 6 university students aged between 20-21. The pilot data was run to check that the set up of the experiment were suitable for the results to be obtained, to see any potential problems that could arise during the actual data collection, and to gather any feedback from the participants. The test was set up as it will be on the day; a line with a lentgh of 3 metres was set out, with a marker as an indicator of where to walk to at one end, and a chair at the other. The markers that collect the data were also set up appropriately, at 50cm from the ctart of the course, and 50cm from the end of the course, to detect what was happening in each segment of the walk. The participants also have a marker attatched to the using a velcro belt, which is place in the approxiate area of their centre of mass. The data was recorded using a programme specifically designed for this experiment, and the data collected was sent straight to a loptop where results can be formatted and analysed.
The participants were all walked through the test, and then given a chance for a practice run. Each participant did 3 runs of 4 different tests. The first was to get up from a sitting position, walk to the marker, turn, walk back to the chair and sit - they then had to repeat this for the second test, but had to do so whilst holding a glass of water. The third condition was to get up from the chair, walk to the marker, which was now covered by an obstacle, walk around that, walk back to the chair and sit back down. The fourth coniditon was the same yet holding a glass of water.
Some of the issues that became apparant during the test were:

1) people adopted different positions when sitting in the chair prior to starting the test, e.g. crossing their legs leaving only one foot on the ground.

2) People talking throughout the test lead them to turn to the person they were having a conversation with, which could effect the way the data is read from the marker.

3) At times, the marker became loose, and detatched from the belt.

4) They completed 12 different trials per person, and whilst it was no problem for them, for
a frail, elderly adult, this could be exhausting.

5) In the feedback, one participant felt the test was 'degrading' due to being attatched to a wire.

All of these issues need to be resolved to the best they can be, without affecting the results of the data collection or inhibiting the findings of the research.

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