SoundRocket’s New Research Director in Higher Education Studies

by | Aug 21, 2021 | Climate Surveys, Higher Education, News

“This role blends my experience in higher education and my passion for research,” says Josh.

SoundRocket recently welcomed Josh Patterson, Ph.D., to its Higher Education research team.

“The higher education research space has always been a core business at SoundRocket,” says Founder and Chief Vision Officer Scott D. Crawford. “From the very first data collection, the Student Life Survey at the University of Michigan, we have been engaged in conducting surveys of college students, staff, and faculty.”

SoundRocket has seen an increased demand for campus climate surveys, including surveys about diversity, equity, and inclusion; sexual misconduct; mental health and alcohol and drug use; and other general higher education program evaluation work. The company’s Higher Education team knew it needed someone who understood the difficulties of research but could also hit the ground running. Josh was the perfect fit at the right time.

“We needed an exceptional individual for this role,” says Scott. “The team wanted someone with an entrepreneurial spirit and substantive involvement in higher education research to complement our methodological expertise. Josh stood out with his unique experience in both quantitative and qualitative methodology.”

Josh earned his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. His dissertation focused on how public colleges and universities decide on curricula and which degrees to offer. Josh said he was drawn to the social aspect of public institutions being extensions of state governments. 

“From my undergraduate to graduate experiences, I understand what it’s like to want outside resources to help you interview people, collect data, incorporate the data into your study, so you have the time to concentrate on the theory,” says Josh.

“At SoundRocket, we focus on the mechanics of a study for the researcher. Our study services are invaluable for a busy academic.”

SoundRocket has served the academic research community for many years and higher education researchers were natural partners to further their mission of sound social science. Those partnerships helped build the expertise that SoundRocket offers, exemplified in projects like the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership, the National Study of Living-Learning Programs, and the Healthy Minds Study, and partnerships continue on with other projects like SoundRocket’s climate survey offerings.

Let SoundRocket add to your toolbox

Josh remembers his graduate work involved building up a giant “toolbox” of skills and knowledge. Josh has designed and executed his own studies with qualitative and quantitative data. He also has experience translating survey data to implications for practice.

“Through the years, I picked up a bunch of research methods and related experiences. I felt very empowered, but my toolbox was still missing certain applications,” he says. “SoundRocket’s team of study experts empowers researchers even more.  We work behind the scenes and support researchers in their academic efforts.” Now as a part of the SoundRocket team, Josh is excited about the combination of skills and knowledge they can offer to potential collaborators. Connect with Josh on LinkedIn, or follow along on Twitter @theJoshPhd and @SoundRocket.

SoundRocket celebrates its 17th anniversary in August. To learn more about our higher education research services, or to find expert survey methodology support for your next social science study, contact SoundRocket or schedule a free consultation today..
Currently, the FDA only regulates true direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests, which have no health care provider involved either before or after testing. Consumer-initiated, physician-mediated genetic tests are considered lab developed tests (LDTs), which currently do not require FDA oversight. 


Our Study Design

Our study was designed to simulate the experience of an everyday person who is considering doing a health-related genetic test. For this reason, we only reviewed website contents presented to a consumer before ordering a test. By limiting our data collection to pre-test content, instead of digging around or contacting the companies to fill in missing data points, gaps in public-facing information that consumers use to make ‘informed’ decisions were revealed.  

Also, while a genetic counselor supervised the project, a research assistant (RA) conducted most of the website investigations. The RA was familiar enough with genetics and genetic testing to understand and identify the information presented on the websites, but has not had the clinical exposure that might create bias from knowing how specific tests work “behind-the-scenes”. 


To Sum Up

We set out to understand the landscape of health-related consumer genomics testing from the public perspective. By limiting our research (by design) to public-facing pre-test website content, we could not complete our data collection as set out in the protocol. However, this uncovered an important observation: consumer genomics websites are highly variable in content, readability and ease of use. 

This begs the question, if we can’t find basic test information on a consumer genomics website, how does a consumer have enough information to make an informed choice about testing? 

Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series, where we will dig into our study findings and reveal our most interesting observations.  



As experts in FDA user comprehension studies for consumer genomics companies seeking 510(k) clearance, we are interested in how everyday people access and understand health content that is meant for them. If you need help optimizing your consumer-directed health communications, we’ve got the in-house expertise and experience to meet your needs. Let’s chat

About the Author

Gina Chiri-Osmond

Gina Chiri-Osmond is a freelance writer and editor with interests in the science, medical, and health industries. Currently located in Iowa, but yearning to hit the mountains, Gina has also lived in St. Louis, MO; Redondo Beach, CA; and Rochester, MN. In her spare time, she enjoys playing and coaching volleyball, learning Spanish, and fixing typos on restaurant menus.