My research involves trying to gain a better understanding of stars that are similar to our Sun. I use high resolution spectroscopy to determine stellar parameters such as temperature, surface gravity, and elemental abundances. While the techniques for determining these parameters have been around for a while, there is still a lot that can be improved and precision in stellar parameters is really important when it comes to studying exoplanets. For example, planets are more likely to be found around stars that have high metal abundances, so I determine those abundances as accurately as possible.
Rather than use automated methods, I take a more hands on approach by looking at every spectral line individually. That way I can gain an appreciate of all the subtle effects in the spectral lines.
I have also been working on disentangling different line broadening mechanisms. Spectral "lines" are not actual lines; they are broadened by different things such as the rotation of the star and the motion of material in the stellar atmosphere. Knowing the rotational velocity of the star is important for exoplanet research, which means that all the other broadening mechanisms need to be understood first.