Author Archives: SparkIntelligence

End of the semester reflection

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.)

Project Plan

Deliverables: I will be constructing a report/summary (Presentation Material) of the information from my research of the demographics, politics, and urban renewal of the 1920s thru the 1960s (Scope), which may be presented as a PowerPoint/Prezi Presentation, and/or documentation report, and/or project, and/or technological media on a consolidated platform such as OpenLab, CartoDb, SketchUp, Wikipedia, YouTube, etc. I will be able to determine the most appropriate platform once my project is in the final stages. I will also coordinate my research with a classmate since we are focusing on similar aspects of my research project. His consolidation platform would be my main consideration towards my research contribution.

Report/Summary Construction Process: I will be using and consolidating the information from the resources from my research, such as libraries (books), web searches (“dot-gov” and articles), archives (historical maps/documents). The main consolidation of information will be taken from my previous reports and bibliography. I will combine and focus information regarding demographics, politics, and urban renewal to produce a final project geared towards a sociological (social sciences) approach.

Research Gaps: Although there is information regarding the demographics, politics, and urban renewal of the 1920s thru the 1960s, there has been limited information about the causes for the landscape cutoff point at Hudson Avenue and York Street.

Evolution of My Project: My project has changed/morphed from a focus of the cause of a physical aspect (landscape) of a street (Hudson Avenue) into a more sociological focus of the demographics and politics involved in the urban renewal of the 1920s thru the 1960s.

Academic Research

Academic research is a privilege because only the few, usually institutions, who can afford to pay for access to it are able to use the most up-to-date research findings and information. Academic and research institutions are more likely to have access to research and peer review journals due to the high yearly costs, normally ranging from $10,000 to $25,000, that would prevent most individuals from being able to afford to pay for access to the journals. If academic research were a right, then there would be significantly less to no cost for access to the most up-to-date journals. (Today, there are financial cost even on things that we consider to be within our rights; for example, we have the right to a trial, but lawyers need to be paid and there are court fees. Usually the tax payers “flip the bill.”)

We can leverage the academic research privilege by contributing to public resources like Wikipedia, which will provide free and easy access to information that someone has obtained from using an “out-of-reach” academic research journal (properly cited of course). This would allow a large number of individuals, who are unable to obtain that academic research, to be able to have access to these priceless/invaluable research resources. Resources like Wikipedia, would facilitate a way to avoid huge fees and be a way, a “loop hole,” around the money barrier that would grant free and unlimited access to any researcher.

Mid Semester Course Progress Reflection

This course has given me an invaluable assortment of research techniques, and it has reinforced some or my older research skills and also presented me with new ones; for instance, I am now able to look at a topic in a new perspective with a more “open” mind. I’ve learned new technological aspects involved with research, such as not only using online resources, but also using archives for primary access to artifacts. I have made a significant contribution to the world of research with Wikipedia, and it is credible and relevant. Now, I have an enjoyable experience from conducting research, and I can see, first hand, the results of my contributions to research. I feel confident in my approach towards researching. I have grown considerable from this course, and my knowledge gained from this course will benefit me for the rest of my life. In fact, I now use these research principles with my other courses and for my personal uses and purposes.