The Largest Obstacle: Describing ecotherapy research to peers and professionals

The most difficult part of this summer research has been describing my research to others. Ecotherapy is a generally unheard-of field of research, so most people have no idea what it is and what my research could possibly be about. In this article I will try to explain what my research is about. Before I do so, I would like you to think about what Ecotherapy research could be. Why do you think it is so difficult to describe?

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Look Back at July: Secondary Reading and Different Looks at the Victorian Era

July flew by for me. I spent the month getting secondary reading done, taking more intensive notes on my core novels, and even doing a little bit of drafting (!).

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Native American Healing Music Update: The Role of Women

My research has led me to explore the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. I’ve listened to most of the available recorded music that they have from Folkway Festivals and ethnographer field work. While listening to this music and looking through field notes, I began to note a pattern in Native American Healing and Ceremonial Music. Much of the music that is available consists of male vocalists and instrumentalists. However, the more late the date of the recording, say the 1990’s versus the 1920’s, the more female vocalists are featured within the repertoire. After noticing this phenomenon I also happened upon an article published by the Smithsonian that focused on the ways in which women have been largely ignored over history in the recording and research of Native American Music. This concept is interesting to me, as I am someone who is quite supportive of women’s empowerment and advancement, so I want to follow this pattern of information and see where it takes me in regards to learning about how and why Native American women have gained more ground in music in the recent years.

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Settling In & Analyzing: Part Two

Hello again followers! Welcome back to the (kind of) weekly installment of updates about my research project. The past few days have been pretty sweltering here in the ‘Burg, so I’ve really embraced a permanent habitation inside of Swem Library.

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On the Study of the Mind

One of the greatest challenges posed by psychology research is the quantification of many of the constructs we seek to study. Unlike in (most of) physics, biology, and chemistry, much of the material studied by psychology cannot be boiled down to discretely observable phenomena. Certainly we are able to evaluate facial expressions, eye movement, brain imaging, etc., but a challenge emerges when we seek to measure such abstract concepts as imagination, nostalgia, and creativity. There is a camp of psychology arguing concepts such as these should receive no study under the umbrella of science, but many others, including myself, see this as a limiting and restricting approach to understanding our minds from a comprehensive point of view. Almost anybody around the world will tell that the imagination is a very real thing. We all possess an imagination and we all feel nostalgia. Our senses only reveal to us a small part of reality. Just because we can’t directly see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Much of my study relies on self-reported measures. While self-report measures certainly have their limits, they are in many cases the best option we have to evaluate psychological constructs.

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