1. How do you view research differently after this class?
After this class, I view research differently in many, many ways that I had never thought about before. My mind was restricted by “blinders,” and I did not know that there was a whole “new” world to explore, “at my very fingertips.” I learned that primary sources and archives are “right around the corner.” I have access to resources, materials, artifacts, sources, research assistance, and the list goes on. Now, I feel a greater sense of proficiency for doing research. A whole wealth of knowledge and information are available to me, and I have a more effective way for doing research from a whole new perspective.
2. How does a geographic viewpoint impact your approach to research and understanding of place?
A geographic viewpoint impacts my approach to research and understanding of place connects me with the physical world and the effects that something physical, like land and buildings, encounters through human’s influence. This new and “fresh” perspective had enabled me to be able to “swim” in an ocean of information, where I could only “walk” on land before. I can tackle more questions. I have more ways of viewing inputs of stimulus, by seeing connections where I did not see before. I have more ways to satisfy my curiosities. The are limitless possibilities.
3. Will you use (and seek out) primary sources in the future? Why or why not?
I will definitely use and seek out primary sources in the future. Primary sources are similar to having hard and undeniable facts in a sense. You get to the “source or root of your query,” the beginning of the cause. This is the place where your answer can be more accurately answered, with much less distortion and error. You are closer to the the “rumors” in the chain of dissemination of information. There are elementary exercises that show the way that messages are distorted from one end of a line of people to the other end. I remember this exercise very well. The information is much less likely to be distorted at the beginning of the line. You get the most accurate understanding. Primary sources are at the beginning of the line. They are the most accurate message.
4. How can research in general, and place-based research in particular) be made more engaging?
Research in general, and places-based research in particular, can be more engaging if students could focus in on a particular character or group of people to understand their view point(s). There is always the hindsight of seeing the effects of humanities’ influences, but “What were the thoughts, politics, reasoning, etc. for these effects?” “Was it truly political, environmental, sociological, unavoidable, etc.?” Knowing the true reason for an outcome is knowing the truth. This is a very simple statement, but it is a very powerful one. We need to find connections, not only simple physical connections, but also emotional connections. There is a more significant impact when we “feel” and experience the life of the person and/or place within a more substantiating context. We are not simply avoiding the biases of subjectivity with objectivity. We will always have subjectivity influencing our judgements and reasoning, and we have to learn to avoid inaccurate conclusions. So, let’s not try to avoid the subjectivity by focusing only on concrete evidence. Let’s embrace it and learn from it. We have to become more effective, critical thinkers and problem solvers, and allowing the full view of a topic will provide more variables that would lead to a more accurate conclusion, understanding, picture, etc. Connecting with our topic on an emotional (effective) level has a much greater impact on learning and motivation. When students finally connect with a subject, h/she will more likely value this research with the intentions of the learning objectives. (This is the main focus of motivation that I’ve learned in my Educational Psychology course. I am studying to be a public school teacher, and I am referring directly to lectures and reading on this topic.)