Week 10: The Train has left the Station

The experiences I have been through this quarter were outstanding experience when it came to the development of an experience. This project has made me incredibly open to the idea of research projects when it comes to the home that I choose to call the United States. People matter everywhere even in the privileged grasps of the United States there are problems that many experience and this assessment of the safety and health in Edmonds has simply been outstanding. I have learned that when it comes to communicating that email may be easy, but sometimes calling may be the best bet because it means plans can be made while both parties are present and communicating. I have learned that things can be misinterpreted when it is sent in email as there are things and certain nuances that many cannot notice via text. I have learned that car rides regardless of where I am put me to sleep with the prospect of a return trip. I have learned that group work is better for the distributor than the people not distributing work. Most importantly I have learned that the future of Anthropology is still relevant everywhere whether it is an exploration into groups thousands miles away or a group of individuals in our backyard, it remains relevant.

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Week 9: Putting the Cherry on Top

This week has been about putting together our findings and making sure that we have a presentable and coherent paper to turn into the city. In particular, I really enjoy the process by which we have been able to do our work. The integration of not only findings, but using GIS software, Google Maps, and photographs taken by us we will be able to present not only an interesting report, but a report that comes with future considerations. While the process has been painstaking at times when it came to the establishment of ourselves in the community and figuring out how to best communicate with the parents in these communities was key. I feel however, we may have been able to reproduce more information if we had a longer period to do research and the means to be adjacent to where our research community is. I feel like a similar study can be done on any number of neighborhoods in the Bellingham area and produce incredible results.

I sadly will not be in attendance at the presentation given by not only our class, but through the university-wide projects that have occurred. I will instead be on a  charter boat that morning, I will gladly provide an update on that trip on this blog after we get back to shore. I wish all of my fellow presenters luck as they take their journey onto presenting to a community our work as an academic party.

Week 8: In Sight of the Finish Line

This week has been a whirlwind of emotions from going down to Edmonds despite a cancelled interview into an outstanding response from the community via a survey. I am truly fascinated by the scope of our project and how much it has been evolving in the short week. The visit to Edmonds was in particular very interesting because we ran into our research partner while walking in downtown Edmonds. It was a very interesting experience that we were able to get from looking into the situation we were given and we were able to achieve context from the neighborhoods, most glaringly the fact that a sidewalk never finishes on one side of the street and from early data we have gotten, this seems to be a common concern.

This week is completely reserved for analysis and the formation of our research paper, and turning it into a viable and informative guideline for the future of our work. I truly think there will be some good information to come out of this experience, but many ways for us to look back and improve on the location and the subject by which we address the project.

Week 7: Communication is Key

This week brought with it one of the most stressful experiences of my life as my research team thought that all of our work up to this point was moot. There was a period of miscommunication among our group members as we worked through are limited and hard to schedule interview. Confusion about the status of our IRB as well as what pertains to our research project become incredibly confusing. One of the key things to remember in research is to not overreact and stay calm until everyone knows what is going on, which is one of the most frustrating things in the world. Fear of the unknown not only rocks the boat, but creates a situation by which people get defensive and want to defend everything they’ve done up to that point. One of the key point is that now everything has been handled and we are making our first field visit down to Edmonds tomorrow to work with an interview and to go take pictures. I am excited, yet cautious because I still am a little uneasy about the events concerning our group’s work and communication.

To work through this project and provide anything of value will be incredible, but do I wish that we had significantly more time. I feel that even on a semester schedule this timeline would be pushing it. That is an important consideration to bring up when talking to the people who organize the programs, while something like this could be achievable, the shortened timeline combined with the complexity of the project makes this one of the hardest things I have ever done.

Week 6: Ready, Set, IRB

This week we are entering the real period of our research. More importantly, we will be able to do our work with IRB approval of our work, even though it has minimal risk to all involved. One of the most important aspects to this research is the narrow window of research for which we have to conduct all our work. 3 weeks may seem like a short time for many, but it can be one of the most important and stressful times in our careers. I am excited and ready to do this research, but the time allotted is not only incredibly tight, but incredibly short. 10 weeks seems like a tremendous timeline for some projects, but when it comes to transportation over an hour, a class, and a partnership thins can get messy. However, it is truly outstanding that we as students are able to make this jump into the Edmonds project and turn it into an incredible project. If only we had more time.

Nevertheless, our real in-depth research will begin in this upcoming week, including with us possibly going down on a Friday to observe and learn about what is going on. I am particularly interested in getting to speak about what we fully expect from not only our contacts, but from some of the individuals dying to talk to us about their own assessment of the area. This week has mostly served as a transitory period into the research cycle. I am ready to get some work done.

Week 5: Muffled Voices in Quantitative Data

One of the things that bothered me this week was the creation of our research proposal. This document is a culmination of out work as a group and presents what we expect or wish to see. I was responsible for the literature review for our group and it was almost unnerving. There is so much data in preventative medicine, planning, and transportation, so the data is highly quantified. Surveys are compiled among the many different disciplines, but it is heavily quantified. The best way I can explain it is that there are thousands of voices, but they are muffled. There are hugely important qualitative points that are shown in the data, yet there is no proof or expansion. Their opinions and voices are muffled by the limiting structure of the survey.

That is why mixed methods are so important to contribute to research. The integration of both quantitative and qualitative approaches are immensely important in capturing the whole picture of the community. Quantitative data is incredibly useful when it comes to the development of policy at a governmental scale, but often muffles the voice of the community whereas qualitative data makes their voices flourish.

Week 4: Research on How to Research Research

This week has largely been concerned with the definition of many of the terms in the sub-field of Applied Anthropology. In particular, the process by which we as Anthropologists design and define words and terms remains an important step in researching how to research research. In fact, I am going to use a term here to simplify this extended and convoluted idea int he title: meta-research. Looking into meta-research and the methods by which we create research is particularly interesting as there is a long-standing question of how best to do research. The entire basis of this class, Participatory Action Research looks to combine academic and community workforce in order to provide a proper result. Whereas Community Based Participatory Research is almost an integration of academic knowledge into the communal knowledge of the community. While it may be a little redundant, it is significant in discerning the relationship between community and researcher. Research itself is a convoluted process and in all means is cyclical and can be repeated among different variations and life-cycles. Definition is hard and is outstandingly annoying to constantly look into, but it is important in learning how to meta-research.

In terms of the research proposal for my work in Edmonds, I am in charge of my group’s Literature Review. I find this outstandingly hard to go through because of my lack of overall training in quantitative methodology. While I can understand the writing it is difficult for me to process because the people are there, but their voices are out of reach. There is no specification, nor is there a true link to their own advocacy. There seems to largely just be a compiled response of surveys. It makes me glad that we are doing this project.