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Qualtrics: using research skills outside of the classroom


Taylor Rawson is a BYU student applying her research skills at Qualtrics. Photo used with permission.


Taylor Rawson is an international relations student at BYU applying her research skills to her job at Qualtrics.

 Q: Why did you decided to go into international relations?

Taylor: I liked that it was interdisciplinary. I like political science – I really wanted to do something with political science but I didn’t only want to take political science classes. I wanted to take stuff like history and geography and foreign language [Spanish]. I did a study abroad in Spain and loved it.

Q: What brought you to Qualtrics?

Taylor: I have worked with Professor Darren Hawkins for two years as a reserach assistant and we’ve done a lot of “everything,” like experiments and qualitative work but I did a lot of data and [data] modeling … He recommended Qualtrics … and so right now I work with students and the professors from all over, not just here on campus, and their research using Qualtrics. Professor Hawkins and I had ran surveys on Qualtrics before but there’s way more that you have to learn …. so I did a lot of training when I started. It’s just such a cool software. You can put custom programming into Qualtrics and make it however you want! It’s a neat platform.

Q: Do the classes you’ve taken at BYU helped you with that job or is it separate from what you’re doing now?

Taylor: It’s a little bit of both. A lot of classes require research, and you have to take a lot of research classes as part of the major, but I also have a lot of research experience outside of school, like being able to think analytically and problem solve. People will call in [to Qualtrics] and say they’re having an issue with this or that and how do I build this, and you have to be able to come up with it.

Q: So which classes have you taken that have helped you in your job now?

Taylor: Anything that forces you to think analytically. So I’ve taken the research skills classes, like a writing methods class.

Q: With all the skills that you’ve developed, what do you want to do after graduation?

Taylor: I really want to be a professor. I love research and you can come up with a problem that you think is interesting, and you figure out how to get an answer, and it’s a cool process. I also like teaching, and I love working with people. I want to get a Ph.D. one day. But good research takes years and years. It’s just neat to solve problems and find answers!

Q: So why would you recommend all this to other students?

Taylor: For two years now I’ve worked on the front end of research– coming up with the questions and trying to figure out what methods could best help us find the answers we were looking for.  At Qualtrics, I work on the other side of that research; I help other academics to set up their research and help them understand how Qualtrics can help them answer the questions they’re asking.  I’ve enjoyed it because I have been on that front side, and I think Qualtrics is a survey platform that can be used for almost anything.