Throughout this semester in the Introduction to Academic Research course, I learned a great deal about research. We covered a wide variety of topics that encompassed topics such as methods of field research, the unknowns when conducting research (the Black Box activity), the differences that exist among fields when using the word “research”, and many others.
I’ll begin with what I learned about myself. Throughout this course, I learned a great deal about my future interests and the characteristics I exhibit when participating in a group project. When working with Rob Geis and Martin Castro, I searched constantly and relentlessly through the CIA database to find any information relevant to our project and the argument we wished to make. Certainly when dealing with a History project, this is strength. It takes a great deal of time to sift through the necessary amount of information to make a sound conclusion. However, when deadlines are firm and very near, this type of research method is very time consuming and could result in an unfinished or inappropriately approached end product. I also found that in the course of the project I was attempting to micromanage certainly elements of the project. For example, Sam had trouble finishing his part of the PowerPoint because his Mac didn’t have office. I texted him a few times within a few days to see if he had finished his portion. During the final rehearsal, I asked both Drew and Sam to re-word things simply because I didn’t like the way they sounded or felt they weren’t serving their necessary purpose. Sometimes this type of person is needed in a group in order to help perform quality control. This type of behavior reflects my behavior and value in a group project. In terms of research
interests, I believe that I’ve found the right field but the wrong geographic area. I enjoy learning about the Middle East certainly but I don’t believe I could find myself making a career out of studying it. I don’t believe I could immerse myself in the culture enough in order to deeply understand the various conflicts that exist among and within both religious and ethnic groups that characterize the region. I believe my research interests lie within the American South. I am fascinated by the historic and economic elements of the region that I call home. I personally believe that learning about your interests is important but the strengths, values, and limitations that you bring to the table are more important. Learning this about yourself helps to address your own weaknesses and to find individuals that balance the research group out.
Throughout this course, I also learned a bit about research. My concept of research changed very little. Throughout high school and the IB program, I learned how to evaluate sources, the importance of primary sources, and other elements of research. In my senior year, I completed an original work entitled “How has the internet changed the market structure of local news with...