Introduction to Research

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Hi everyone! I’ll be posting three blogs for your edification this week, to tell you what I’ve been doing with my research, and how it’s been going. To start off, I thought I’d go into a bit of detail on the first steps of the research process: basically, how you take a research proposal, and translate it into an actual, workable thesis, and then into a polished, perfected final product.
This journey, from thesis to completed project, is not an easy one. It takes a lot of work, and sometimes I feel a bit like Sisyphus from Greek mythology-pushing a boulder up a hill, only to have it tumble back down after days of effort. However, I will say that research, for those who are interested, remains a worthwhile endeavor, and the act of completing a research project teaches you a lot about organization, editing, and other skills necessary to succeed in any academic field. (plus its fun!).

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Representations of women in teen vampire culture 2010-07-29 15:58:57

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(Military) ideas have consequences

I’m happy to find that my interest in T.E. Lawrence’s military writing puts me in pretty good company. No less than David Petraeus is a devotee of Lawrence, whose famous work The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is one of his favorite books. Here’s an excerpt from another article:

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The more the merrier…?

As this summer session of research draws to an end, so is my research….sorta.

Currently I am actually working on…I gonna say 3 different topics at the same time, all loosely related. There is the Facebook network structural analysis, then there is the body sensor mote network, and of course, distributed network algorithm. Need proof that they are all related? Well, they all have the word “network” in them, so they are related. Maybe distant 5th cousins, but still, related. Judging from the fact that research topics can freely associate with other research topics and make lots of little research babies, I predict that August 5th will by no means be the end of my research here at WM, and as a matter of fact, I like it this way.

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Data in the Raw

With every week my research gains momentum.   I’ve quickly learned the importance of building rapport with the subjects of the study in anthropological research.  Of course, my study differs from the kind of research performed in the gospels of anthropology (Coming of Age in Samoa, etc.).  I study not an isolated, foreign region, but a connected (“within an hour and half  of both New York and Philadelphia!” “a nexus of the Eastern seaboard!” are statements often proclaimed to me), familiar one.  Yet still I’ve found that that traditional ethnographic methods are essential.  In the case of my study, rapport may translate to a term more rampant in the current American lexicon: networking.  While rapport indicates the process of establishing a relationship, networking denotes both the formation and utilization of a relationship.  I’ve found both of these terms apply.  As I perform interviews I create a foundation of trust and interest in my research.  The individuals I form connections with pass along information on my research to others and give me names and numbers with generous assurances to “please, please” use their name when calling so-and-so.  This is the way I’ve moved from solely interviewing Bethlehem residents to interviewing community leaders, organizers, and even city officials.

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