Reflection Eight – Favorite Project

 

Over the course of the semester we have studied three different research methods: Interview, Observation by a quantitative data breaking study, and historical. The method that I liked the most was the historical approach, because I loved the way that the project was set up. Not quite a history paper, the project implemented facts, current observations, and an explanation of the significance of the study. While I know some of the students struggled with the current observation, I enjoyed it immensely. Talking about my own experiences is one of the things I know I’ll always be good at, if only because I was the one there. I can picture it in my mind and encapsulate what I want to say with words, while during an interview, I have to process what the subject is attempting to say and make sense of it all, and in the quantitative data report, the tone is much more formal. However, the interview project was probably the most useful, because I was speaking to experts in their respective fields. I learned the most from this one, as well – instead of conducting an experiment and hoping for the best, or reflecting on my own experiences and centering it in a project, I was hearing others speak about what they knew, which is one of the best ways to learn. The different methods were useful to me because I learned how to avoid questions that would be too personal or too scientific, giving a perfect question that could help the subject to understand what I was asking for them. They were given the freedom to respond personally and as they pleased, but the interview followed the scientific format that the quantitative analysis called for.

To me, it’s obvious that we would need to study the different types of research methods, to better formulate the different questions. A personal question does not belong in a quantitative project, while a personal question can be bent a little to properly fit a history project or an interview, if framed correctly. The different results are tangible, because the conclusions can be so different, depending on the type of questions. I explained why the Macy’s was a significant New York monument, but one of my professors disagreed with me. There isn’t necessarily a “right” way to have answered this, because it was an opinion that kept my research working progressively towards a positive paper that reaffirmed my stance. However, had we opened up the quantitative analysis to other people’s opinions, the results would have varied intensely and would have been difficult to track. What we considered a volatile reaction might have been considered a normalcy to someone not in our group, which is why the project stuck to the group’s ideas. The interview project was really the moment where we could choose to expand on what others had thought, especially because it was essentially a chunk of a case study from three different people. It was there that we could draw comparisons with the proof right in front of us. For my quantitative analysis report to have been a history project, I would have needed to spend more time comparing it to a project like Stanley Milgram’s and reaffirming why the results were similar. It’s hard to turn a psychological experiment into a history assignment, because anything reviewed by the IRB is so capricious and subjective that it’s hard to prove anything (it’s the reason that evolution is still only a theory). However, this project would have made another little dent in the brick wall that human behavior, and that is something to record.

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