Over the semester I learned a lot about collecting research. More specifically, I learned how to effectively collect research, put together the facts, and draw conclusions.
First and foremost, I learned that when researching a certain location, it is vital that the researcher visits that location. Originally, I didn’t think it was necessary to go on site visits, especially since I’ve been to Coney Island in the past and assumed I had known all that I needed to know. I was wrong. Upon my first mandatory visit I paid attention to many details in the environment of the neighborhood. I watched the people that were there, was attentive to the energy of the area, and even the physical traces. This I learned from “Inquiry By Design: Tools for Environment-Behavior Research,” by John Zeisel. I noticed traces that were left behind by people to get a better understand of how people treat the space, and therefore how they perceive it. For example, tons of clothes and garbage laid all over the sidewalk led me to question whether or not people respect the space. I was conscious of not only what was there, but what wasn’t (empty lots). From an in class writing, I learned the different types of interviewing processes such as written surveys and in-person interviews. Each type has different benefits. For example, interviewing someone in person allows you to draw conclusions from the reactions and facial expressions and not just the words they’re saying. After multiple visits and interview, I began to put my data together. From “Bubbles Lines and Strings,” I learn the importance of data and the different ways of displaying of data: scientific, journalistic, and artistic. It’s important to decipher which category your data would best be presented under. When it came to writing the paper I was nervous to begin. After a whole semester’s build up I couldn’t find myself to just start. It was the organic drafting method that pushed me to do so. Writing down my thoughts and being able to organize them through the post-its really helped me. Once I began, an in class reading taught me not to edit while writing the first draft. This advice allowed my thoughts to all get written cohesively. The idea that I could edit at the end was settling and took away some of the ‘fear’ of writing.
Overall, I think I really improved in collected data, especially through interviews. I learned how to ask the right questions and draw conclusions. With this knowledge I feel a sense of liberty to obtain any knowledge I desire, not limited to online sources.