Lauren Posey ('13, English)

Photo of Kelsey Burnsed What do you do for your undergraduate research?

I work under Dr. Atwill's supervision to conduct a sociolinguistic analysis of the speech of YouTubers. I interview people who post regular videos of themselves talking and compare the speech in their videos to how they speak in the interviews.

What made you want to pursue an undergraduate research project?

I have enjoyed doing research in the past, and when the opportunity arose for me to pursue it in sociolinguistics and explore the field of New Media Discourse, I jumped at the chance.

How did you start your research project?

I came up with the project idea on my own, while doing some reading about New Media Discourse. I spoke with Dr. Atwill about my ideas, and he helped me organize the materials to get started. After that, I began contacting YouTubers to find ones interested in the project, and now that I have a participant, I am able to work on interviews, transcriptions, and data analysis and really explore the field.

It isn’t required to do research as an undergrad, so what advantages do you think this experience has provided you?

I eventually want to work in academia and do research professionally, so this has definitely helped prepare me for my future. I am more familiar with protocols for research in linguistics, and I believe doing research on my own will prove very useful in graduate school and beyond

Was doing your own research fun? Be honest.

Absolutely! I love doing research, and despite the pitfalls and challenges that inevitably come up along the way, it is very rewarding once you finally begin looking at the data. Conducting the interviews and transcribing those and the videos is also enjoyable, and I'm learning a lot about linguistics as I go.

What recognition and/or grants did you receive for your research?

I received an Undergraduate Research and Creativity Award from UNCW for a summer research internship, and I will present my research at the Fall 2013 CSURF showcase.

What are your plans after you receive your degree from UNCW?

I plan to go on to graduate school in linguistics, and eventually move into academia.

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