Research Update: Living Life in the ‘Burg (Still)

I am definitely accustomed to taking a breather, even if just for a week back home in Massachusetts, after the end of the semester and final exams. Usually we all have at least a small chunk of time in between the end of spring semester and the start of a job, an internship or summer classes.¬†After I chose my research topic, however, I decided to remain in Williamsburg and start my work right after exams. And that’s when things really got crazy (Nope, actually, they did not).

William and Mary emptied out immediately after undergraduate exams ended. I literally saw three or four people everyday, and that is counting my friend who was studying for the MCATs and who I was living with. Fortunately, these were excellent conditions for the commencement of my summer research, which required me to absorb dozens of journal articles and industry reports daily. As I said in my last post, this summer I am studying the development of energy efficiency in China by examining the perpetually evolving incentives system faced by investors. In order to gain an empirical awareness of the present-day context that energy efficiency investments take place in, I had (and still have) to spend adequate time learning about the historical development of the energy economy in China and its changing role in China’s national development strategy.

Towards the end of last semester I received excellent news that I will be spending the next academic year abroad in Beijing studying Mandarin. I spent six months in Beijing in 2009, and I am thrilled to have an opportunity to go back this soon. This also means that I have another entire year to develop my research, a realization that has certainly altered the course of my summer research project. Now, I am making sure to take extra time understanding the foundation– the historical, political and economic backdrop in which energy policy unfolds in China before absolutely finalizing an honors thesis topic. It would be ill-advised to cement a topic when I have another year to research my topic, do fieldwork and meet with government officials, multinational corporations and policy experts in China. This flexibility has been great.

While I am excited for the coming year, there is still lots of time this summer and I plan to continue using it effectively. There are plenty more posts on the way and I want to make sure that I use some of them, like this one, to simply describe my research experience.

Until next time,

Austin

Swem Library in mid-May...not a whole lot of action.

Swem Library in mid-May...not a whole lot of action.