Field Journal, 2023 Scholars, Week 5

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  • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?
  • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

Please answer BOTH of these questions by creating a post of your own! Remember that you also should read your colleagues’ posts and write a response to at least one of their posts. Both posts should be completed by the end of the week.

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Go to the profile of Kira Ratan
9 months ago

1. A large portion of my research involves searching through extensive databases and trying to pinpoint specific materials that will help move my research question forward. However, because I am looking for niche topics, oftentimes it becomes hard to know where to start from and how to lead the database in the right direction towards what I'm actually looking for. Under-researched fields, especially when doing historical research, make it hard to know where to begin from and who to look to for expertise, and oftentimes researchers have to find subjects with several degrees of separation in order to begin parsing their own analyses and arguments together. 

2. When I do find an essay or an article pertaining to the topics I'm studying, I have found that using the "Cited By" feature has led me to a swath of information that relates to my research, but my database searches might not have directed me to the first time around. I also have found that pictures/visuals are super valuable pieces of research, and sometime even say more as primary sources than written documents themselves. 

Go to the profile of Kayla Pham
9 months ago

Thanks for your response. I appreciated your discussion of strategies to understand literature. I think using the "Cited By" feature is an incredible way to understand the conversation around your topic of research. Similarly, I  have found investigating the sources that papers cite to be helpful as well. I typically will follow the literature that the paper in question cites to get more insight into what kinds of ideas and information the original paper is drawing from. Nonetheless, I feel that both ways are insightful ways to better understand the context around the research we are conducting. Thanks!

Go to the profile of Aleena Garrison
9 months ago

Hi Kira! I really resonated with your first response. I have also found it hard to pinpoint research materials that are useful to my particular topic on databases. In regards to your second response, thank you for sharing this tip! I hadn't thought of using the Cited By feature, and I'm sure it will help me progress in my research as well. If you ever feel stuck even after using the Cited By feature, I have found that you can also search for materials outside of databases and pinpoint the sources they use in their pieces to determine if they are reliable/trustworthy or not. This has been useful for my research project because my topic is particularly niche, but it does take a lot of time and rabbit-hole digging. I usually use this method if I have a lot of time or feel stuck. Good luck!

Go to the profile of Cady Chen
9 months ago

1. The focus of my research has changed dramatically over the course of these past weeks, as I’ve realized how long it takes to develop and execute an analysis pipeline for a single dataset, as well as how many different angles I have to examine a potential finding from before accepting it. Moreover, for every choice I make in my analysis, I have to be able to defend it scientifically. Consequently, I’ve spent these past four weeks focusing on a single question regarding tumor proliferation in response to neuronal activity, and only now, am I starting to pivot to my original research plan to investigate the role of microglia in the tumor microenvironment. In some ways, due to the unexpected time I’ve spent on glioma proliferation, the scope of my research has expanded to explore the role of neurons, on top of microglia, in tumor progression and has shown me just how complex the tumor microenvironment truly is.

2. The figures and methods sections of various in-field papers have proven particularly useful in helping me understand how other researchers have analyzed similar datasets and what tools/procedures they have leveraged in doing so. I’ve also been relying heavily on open source programming forums like Github and Stack Overflow to solve coding problems I’ve run into! 

Go to the profile of Kira Ratan
9 months ago

Hi Cady, thanks so much for your answers! Given how much time we have for our research project, it makes a lot of sense that you have had to narrow in on a single research question, investigate it thoroughly, and build up context before beginning to move into what you had originally thought you would be researching. Especially in medicine, ensuring that different perspectives are accounted for seems like a crucial step in working towards a greater goal, so I am glad you have been able to dive into the details in order to garner more information about the complex systems you are studying. 

Go to the profile of Kayla Pham
9 months ago

    Since starting my project, I have primarily encountered experimental data that contradicts my assumption. Initially, I set out to find polaritonic recycling in MoS2 (molybdenum disulfide). For more context, a polariton is essentially a particle that is half-light and half-matter. The light aspect of the "particle" enables it to move incredibly fast, while the particle aspect allows for extraction for modern technologies. However, after reviewing relevant data about MoS2 that might have indicated polaritonic recycling, it turns out that the electron transport found in the material is likely normal diffusion - which is not the purpose of the overall investigation. In addition to this, the material MoS2 was producing data of poor quality. Thereby, it was necessary to switch to a higher quality material - WSe2 - that was meticulously grown and cultivated in another lab at Columbia. However, many of the same problems that were occurring with MoS2 are also occurring with WSe2 - hindering the discovery of polaritonic recycling in a transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD) - known for their unique ability to self-hybridize (form polaritons without external cavities). Nonetheless, the investigation will persist but likely at a different angle to find polaritonic recycling. The most valuable resource through this process has been others. Whether it be people in my own lab or others in the department, perspective and expertise has been incredibly useful in progressing in my own investigation.

    Go to the profile of Joseph Karaganis
    9 months ago

    I really resonate with the collaboration that you bring up here--it's important to know that as part of a major research university, we have access to a huge range of resources that can often make our research more efficient and productive: it's just on us to reach out. As students, this can often be intimidating, but it's also true that we occupy a special place in the academic environment--as people keep telling me, "Everyone is willing to talk to a student." We should take advantage of this privilege because it's not something we'll have forever!

    Go to the profile of Karen Zhang
    9 months ago

    Hey Kayla! Agreed with your statement that the most valuable resource has been the other people involved in the same research that we are. I work with a team of three other undergraduate students under my faculty professor mentor and it's been really helpful in having other students working on the same project that I am so that I can compare my fieldwork notes with them and hear about their findings that I may not have noticed. Additionally, it's fascinating to hear from others given the vastly different perspectives that each of us brings to the table and how we interpret student experiences with PBATs. 

    Go to the profile of Joseph Karaganis
    9 months ago

    1. One of the biggest challenges I've encountered in my interview-based research is finding people who are willing, able, and interested in talking to me. I've already sent out at least 70 or 80 cold emails, but the vast majority of people haven't responded--and many of those who have responded don't have the time or availability to speak with me. This challenge has forced me to become more creative in the way I reach out to people--I've started soliciting potential interviewees from the people who have responded to me, and I've expanded my search to include not only journalists but also academics working in the field of journalism and communication studies. This process has expanded the breadth of my research, and slightly reshaped the focus: instead of using interviews as a way to extract particular facts and information (as in investigative journalism), I'm using them to form a conceptual base that can help frame the questions I'm asking about AI integration.

    2. CLIO has remained an incredibly valuable tool that has enabled me to quickly access vast resources of information--much of my scholarly background research has stemmed from articles, journals, and databases that I originally found on the service. In particular, I've started using Leadership Connect, which allows me to quickly access the contact information of popular journalists who have worked for major publications: this has made the grind of searching for emails on the internet that much easier (although it has not eliminated it entirely, since many freelance and online journalists are not covered).

    Go to the profile of Rojeh Dayan
    9 months ago

    Joe, I resonate with your comment about CLIO’s value. Much of my literature review and sources have also stemmed from various types of sources I found on CLIO. I especially find value in the fact that you can find both physical and electronic resources, particularly since you can use the BorrowDirect service to request physical books from other institutions. 

    Go to the profile of Aleena Garrison
    9 months ago

    1. A challenge that I’ve encountered is defining the word diva. Part of my research is finding toys and products from the 2010s that embody or promote diva-ness. This has allowed me to reexamine what being a diva means, and investigate what “type” of diva has been pushed towards certain generations versus others. Initially, this portion of the project was challenging for me because I was only searching for toys, ads, and other media and products for things that explicitly stated diva. There wasn’t much to go off of, so I had to redefine what diva actually meant. In the 2010s, being a diva was about being sassy and chasing fame, which is a stark difference from the definition in the 90s where being a diva meant owning your individuality, being outspoken, and embracing diversity. Using this, I was able to find more products and media that related to diva-ness, but didn’t explicitly state diva in them. Instead, they had many qualities of being a diva, as their products and ads boasted buzz words like “stardom”, “sassy”, and “fashionista”. This has shaped the larger picture of my research because not only am I getting to relive my childhood by examining girlhood in the 21st century, but I am really exploring the deeper meanings behind the shift in the word and nature of divas, and how that has shaped an entire generation of young women. Being a diva has become something negative when it used to be empowering. 

    2. I have found Google Scholar to be particularly useful.

    Go to the profile of Cady Chen
    9 months ago

    Aleena, I think it's fascinating how you've used your background readings and own experiences to expand the scope of the word "diva" and in doing so, inadvertently uncovered shifts in the word's connotation over the decades! I'm curious about what sort of diva-related toys/products from the 2010s you've found, especially since you mentioned that the word "diva" has morphed into a more negative stereotype in more recent decades. On top of that, it seems like your challenge really highlights the importance of search terms when searching literature (and in your case, physical products and media). I've definitely hit dead ends because I've been using the wrong terms!

    Go to the profile of Sively de los Santos
    9 months ago

    Hi Aleena, I resonate with your challenge on finding source material given an initial vague understanding of a topic. For one of my previous assignments, I was researching an "underground" organization and I didn't get many results from just typing the name of the organization itself. It was only when I read some of the scarce secondary literature on the organization and I established key names, dates, and phrases associated with them that I was able to find more information to successfully complete the assignment. Good luck on your divalicious studies!

    Go to the profile of Kelly Aika Yoshimura
    9 months ago

    I find your research regarding the change in diva as a concept to be very relevant as so many people have a changing perception of healthy girlhood development, even now. There are so many greater factors that combine in order to provide an understanding of this shift, so I'm looking forward to what you find and how the media reacted to these new definitions. 

    Go to the profile of Krishan
    8 months ago

    Aleena, I just wanted to say that I love Google scholar as well, it's the best for searching out articles and has nice filters as well. On another note, the challenge of definition is huge and it is so cool that you are trying to go underneath almost to search for deeper meanings and cultural trends. 

    Go to the profile of Aristotle X
    8 months ago

    Hi Aleena,

    I really love how you outline your thinking here in regard to following buzzwords as the language used to describe divas changes over time, and how you used this language to develop a historical understanding of how "diva" has taken on many different meanings throughout time. Your thinking inspires me to follow language more closely as well, especially as I'm thinking about how certain connotations for words might change depending on region or speaker. Thank you!

    Go to the profile of Rojeh Dayan
    9 months ago

    1. When beginning my research project, I had assumed that the community I am researching was well-received in Israel since it is a Jewish community but expected that the US may be a different story. However, I came to learn that the Jewish-Iranian community was, and even still is today although to a lesser extent, discriminated against in Israel. This was a surprising fact that contradicted my initial assumptions and has enriched my perspective of the topic at hand, allowing me to more greatly appreciate the efforts individuals have made to preserve their Iranian heritage and reclaim their ancestry. 

    2. CLIO has proved particularly useful to me as it allows me to access a wide breadth of information with just one search. It is especially useful since it contains various types of sources, such as physical books and e-books. Moreover, topic-specific databases have proven to be useful as well.

    Go to the profile of Benjamin Oren Goldman
    8 months ago

    Hi Rojeh, I was really interested by your response because it's often too easy to ignore both the great diversity and tension within religious and ethnic groups. When we see others' identities as monolithic, we ignore this complexity. Thank you for highlighting this! Also I agree--CLIO is a lifesaver. I can't imagine what this summer's research would have been like without it.

    Hello Rojeh, it's really insightful to hear about what you've found to be the case in Israel while conducting research aimed at understanding nuances in the US. I believe that expanding the scope of your research in this way is very helpful, and both relations internationally and domestically are valuable to study. I cannot wait to see what angle you end up taking for your final project as well. 

    Go to the profile of Karen Zhang
    9 months ago

    The data that I am primarily collecting are observational descriptions from my field notes. Because of this, my research question has changed quite a bit over the weeks due to the limitations in my data-collecting method (ex. I’m unable to conduct my own interviews). Additionally, because my notes are based on my observations, I’m still working on ways and methods to qualify and quantify my conclusions, especially because so much of my data is qualitative. However, working with this data has also pushed me to narrow in on one specific topic in the broader research that I'm doing—in this case, I'm focusing specifically on history performance-based assessment tests (PBATs)—to really understand the different dimensions that history PBATs can take. 

    The library databases have been particularly useful for me. As I read literature on history pedagogy and project-based assessments, I found that Columbia's Teachers College is rich in the information I need for my background research/annotated bibliography, especially since they have a catalog on history education. Their catalogs and databases have been helpful in both narrowing and broadening my research.

    Go to the profile of Nina Kornfeld
    9 months ago

    While my ultimate long-term goals have not dramatically changed since I first started my research, I have run into a lot of technological issues that have changed the course of my project. I have had some trouble getting software and technology that could improve the quality of my 3d models to work, and a lot of software I have gotten to work does not work as well as I would like it to. These issues have actually taught me a lot about coding and basic computer science, something I have wanted to learn about for a while, so I am partly happy to have run into these problems. However, these delays have some implications on my work, as the flowering season for columbines, the flowers I am working with, is almost over, which means I have to hurry to collect my data  and make sure everything is working properly. 

    2. My graduate student advisor has been really helpful with trouble shooting different kinds of software. He is very knowledgeable about computer science and is always ready to help and explain ways to fix different issues. 

    Go to the profile of Sively de los Santos
    9 months ago

    1. One of my assignments is to write a paper about a topic assigned to me. I am at the point where I have collected all of the data/information that I want to include in the paper but, the style of the paper is meant to be more of an encyclopedia entry than an argumentative paper. This is the first time that I've written a paper like this so I am trying to walk the line between not introducing evidence for the sake of debate/justifying an opinion but, also not just inserting data on a paper. I've had to step back and ask myself why I input certain pieces of information or whether or not I am leaning into the habit of an argumentative paper. 

    2. Because I've been working with 30+ sources and 80+ citations, Zotero has been helpful for me to keep track of all my source material. 

    Go to the profile of Benjamin Oren Goldman
    9 months ago

    1. One of the goals for my project is to examine and re-simulate some past results (and then build off of them). However, I'm often struggling to follow some of the mathematical derivations for these past theories. For example, under many circumstances, turbulence in an ionized gas can cause it to generate its own magnetic field, and there are theories as to what these precise circumstances are, and what shapes of magnetic fields can form. However, I'm having trouble making sense of these theories, since I haven't taken classes in many of the tools that are involved in their math. Additionally, I'm using a piece of software to conduct computational simulations of this turbulence, but I don't really understand how this software works, which is important for me to to give the right input data and understand its output data. These challenges have really shown me how large this project is and how long it will take. This summer is only the first step in my project, and I still have a lot of interesting work to do, especially since  the goals of this project have changed as well. Now, rather than examining the dynamics of stars such as our sun, I am now modelling what happens in neutron star collisions. This has been a challenging but enjoyable shift, since we now must also consider the relationship between changing magnetic fields and fluid turbulence. However, I'm excited for this shift, because neutron stars are really interesting.

    2. Zotero has been useful for keeping all of my papers organized.. Also, the Python tool "Jupyter", has been really helpful in certain stages of the project because it makes it easier to experiment with different ways of analyzing data by continuously showing my code's results in "real time". Clio and the Northwest Corner library have been helpful because they contain some great textbooks on my topic. Also, the school's supercomputing resources have helped me to run simulations at higher resolution levels than would be possible on my laptop.

    Go to the profile of Manan Vij
    9 months ago

    I agree with your point on using Zotero as an organizing tool for research, as it has helped me in a similar way as it did for you, and is something that I plan to continue using in the future as well. I've come to realize the necessity of organization when pursuing complex research goals and completely agree that these tools really help streamline workflow. 

    Go to the profile of Kelly Aika Yoshimura
    9 months ago
    • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

    In my research, there are factors that I hadn't considered as influences in why people do or don't join race/ethnicity-based clubs, specifically political differences within the same group, this has been an interesting point to come up throughout my interviews. There are a lot of institutional and systemic issues that have also limited club participation that impacted students on a more intense level which has geared my focus slightly toward how institutions such as Columbia play an indirect role in promoting inclusivity within student organizations. 

    • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

    Sage research has been a valuable tool as I understand qualitative data gathering as it pertains to conducting ethical interviews and assuring that my questions and responses remain as unbiased and neutral as I can. This has been foundational in my research since it focuses on recognizing various nuances and contextualizing greater communities without drawing broad generalizations.

    Go to the profile of Sarah Bryden
    9 months ago

    I really relate to your first answer about not initially considering politics. As I research, I'm finding that government policies, especially about linguistic rights and language education, can make a huge difference in the art that is produced in an Indigenous language. It's very interesting to think about the role that politics/law/government can play (even in the most indirect way) in personal expressions of identity.

    Go to the profile of Manan Vij
    9 months ago

    1. Some new ideas, challenges, and other issues that I have encountered with regard to my project is running code with very large datasets, which presents a challenge both logistically (in terms of hardware), but also in more practical "run-time" terms. Since the dataset is very large and dense, the computer takes an incredibly long time to finish running, which presents a major challenge in doing further analysis of the dataset. In terms of shaping the larger project, the end goal still remains the same, however, given this larger sample size, the implications of this research will be much more convincing to others and for further study. 

    2. Research resources that have been proven particularly useful to me are online coding resources/forums (especially StackOverflow) for debugging very detailed issues in my code. They have helped guide me in the correct direction to debug my scripts and have helped save time in my overall workflow. 

    Go to the profile of Kashish Kumar
    9 months ago

    1. I have found that reading through papers that detail the mathematical modeling methods that supplement my current work gives me essential insight into the specificity of my unique applications. Understanding cell state and composition (part of a sample or cluster) as having a significant role in my analyses has shifted my original extracted data to be more predictive of the outcomes I am measuring. For the regression modeling portion of my project, I had some issues with a tool for obtaining cluster-specific infection severity markers, but I have now amended that by further discriminating the input data. I now plan on constructing separate classifiers for the cell subtypes to get gene signatures that best distinguish among them marked by severity/composition. Then I am implementing a binary elastic-net model using the gene signatures for each cell type by considering a certain cell type as one class and all other cell types as another class given the severity feature. 

    2. Github issues, Biostars, and the protocol information from related publications/tools have been invaluable for technical troubleshooting and scoping out where and how my results feed into current literature. Additionally, since my use case is often very different from the presented examples, I am prompted to experiment with novel methods detailed in community guides. 

    Go to the profile of Nina Kornfeld
    9 months ago

    Github and stack overflow have also been valuable resources for me while troubleshooting technological issues. Additionally, going through papers with similar goals/experiments has also been really helpful, especially since they often look at similar problems or questions in different way. I really look forward to hearing your presentation today!

    Go to the profile of Rolihlahla Nyirenda
    9 months ago

    Some of the challenges I have faced were mostly related access to quality sources. My research is framed around a recent legal rule that has very little literature written about it. This forced me to be creative and take an unconventional approach by redefining my scope and establishing new parameters. I also had to read court cases that can easily be overwhelming due to the new jargon and terminology. At the end though, I found it very interesting to read court transcripts which revealed a more human side to legal proceedings.

    When it comes to resources my librarian and mentor were very helping and often guided me towards very useful information. I also heavily depended on Nexus for any law adjacent texts and literature.

    Go to the profile of Sarah Bryden
    9 months ago

    1. Initially, I had framed my project around code-switching and the idea that when the rappers were changing languages, they were making a "switch" between two separate ways of speaking. Increasingly, however, my reading is leading me to think of multilingualism as part of one unified code. So for example, if a person speaks Maya and Spanish, they navigate the world with a distinct Maya-Spanish code that is always present, even if they are only using one language at a time. Thinking of multilingualism this way makes a lot more sense in the context of my project, because in almost all of the songs, rappers are combining both languages to tell a unified story. Also, particularly for the rappers who are natively bilingual, their speech/rapping/singing in both languages is actually "marked" as bilingual (with distinct pronunciations, for instance). 

    2. Many of the resources we learned about in the beginning of the program, like Zotero and CLIO, have been very helpful. Surprisingly, I've also learned a lot about how the music is perceived from reading YouTube comments. I definitely didn't expect for this to be such a helpful way of collecting information, but reading through them tells me a lot about who is listening to a particular song (where they are from, what languages they speak, whether they understand the lyrics, etc.). 

    Go to the profile of Grace Kaste
    9 months ago

    Your project is so cool! Can't wait to see the final product. I think what you said in part 1 about multilingualism as one unified code is so interesting when you consider the ramifications for how the rapper perceives themselves. I've read about how people with multi cultural or multi ethnic backgrounds sometimes feel like they have to define themselves by just one part of their background, and I wonder if our common perception of "code-switching" as switching between two binaries as opposed to a holistic multilingualism perpetuates this. I'd love to hear more about this concept, and maybe this is unrelated but it also makes me wonder about the neurological processes going on here -- I wonder if the brain's language structure for multilingual artists is much more in line with this concept of one unified code. 

    Go to the profile of Ariel Yu
    9 months ago

    Thank you for sharing Sarah! I'm so so interested in your findings, as well as the approach of using online comments to analyze societal responses. They also remind me of some readings on the theories of translation, and how people manage to convey the same semantics through utterly different languages. Look forward to your final project!

    Go to the profile of Grace Kaste
    9 months ago
    • One new idea that has become a theme for my research in the past few weeks is narrowing the scope -- as I try to create the first economic model I've ever done for the effects on the economy of carbon trading, it obviously becomes more difficult the more variables I add to the project. But beyond difficulty, I've also been realizing that if I narrow the scope of the model, the aspects that I do choose to include are emphasized and clarified, whereas if I were to incorporate every single tangent variable, the model becomes less digestible to someone who is not familiar with this research topic. This has reminded me that my ultimate goal here is to inform and influence people's view of this type of environmental policy, and I'll make more of a difference if I keep it a bit simpler. 
    • This sounds a bit basic but previous research papers published on my topic or adjacent topics have been so helpful. It wasn't until this program and talking to the librarians that I realized that these academic papers have to publish their methods and data such that anyone can recreate it. By looking at the data sets they pull, as well as imitating their economic models, I've been able to guide myself through the process for my own research as someone who is completely new to the process. It's made me realize a new dimension of academic papers and research databases: they're not only vehicles for the authors' conclusions but also guides for anyone else to challenge, recreate, and explore their research. 
    Go to the profile of Ariel Yu
    9 months ago

    1. To help us better understand the real-life interaction between different institutions, my supervisors took us to the Manhattan Alternatives to Incarceration Court last Tuesday, and a speaker event featuring three judges on Thursday. It was a really eye-opening experience to see how the work (both positive and negative) of non-profits, think tanks, law enforcement, and attorneys culminate in court, and it's also educational to learn about the judges' perspective on the issues of the system and their imagined alternatives afterward. Together, they help me take a step back from my daily work and reflect on the bigger picture of criminal legal reform, reminding me to keep taking a human-centered approach rather than a statistic-centered one.

    2. ProQuest has been particularly useful when it comes to archival research. Since I'm helping on two book projects that involve the history of Long Island and a prison in Pennsylvania, I've been looking into historical newspapers and other primary sources. So far, I've found a handful of historical news reports, editorials, and other documents on ProQuest.

    Although the scope of my project itself hasn't changed, the pace definitely was altered as we realized that we needed much more teamwork to make our software work for our group than anticipated. It was very helpful to receive such patience and guidance from my fellow researcher and professor, and I realized that gravitational wave events happen much more often than I anticipated, and with different likelihoods of being black hole events. Therefore, my research is tiered by prioritizing certain events, which was so interesting to see! Also, the research papers written by my professor and his colleagues have educated me so much - I keep rereading them due to how dense and informative they are, but they gave me all the background I needed to be aware of how amazing a project I am assisting with. 

    My own professors research, and recent LIGO findings or events detected at observatories have enriched my experience while researching, and given me all the knowledge I have needed! It is so unique having a mentor with the answers to my questions.

    Go to the profile of Erica Lee
    8 months ago

    Hi Lucia! 

    I totally agree about the importance of finding a pace within your team. I hadn't expected to find community and regularity during this short 6 week period, but finding a rhythm with my team members has been a really wonderful part of this summer. 

    Go to the profile of Krishan
    8 months ago

    1. Some challenges I have often faced as I look for new sources is in terms of language barriers. In specific, the fact that I can't understand newspaper articles in Serbian or Hungarian, and that I can't track aesthetic developments of music in German or French, makes it more difficult. thankfully many things are translated into english, but sometimes I'll be reading a book in the library and they'll be an article or a letter printed in it I can't even hope to understand.

    2. The most useful research resource for me was the MoMA library, which i've visited to find more books about my artist Katalin Ladik, because they have an extensive collection of critical books about contemporary art in particular. They also have many exhibition catalogues from other contemporary art museums, difficult to find anywhere else in the city, that are helpful in getting even more information. 

    Go to the profile of Aristotle X
    8 months ago
    • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

    One new challenge I've encountered is studying music without scores or sheet music. For example, songs like "No Weapon" by Fred Hammond don't have readily-available scores, or the context in which they are sung has so many variables, riffs, or improvisations that are left to the singer(s), so the score isn't an encompassing source I can use. This has helped me ground my thinking in different parts of the archive, or learning differently, such as going to Pentecostal Church to understand the Pentecostal gospel tradition and learning about music theory by practicing singing hymns at church, rather than sitting with an instrument and trying to memorize the chord structures/rhythm on my own. This has helped me also put my project in a broader context beyond the academy, where I am learning to think and learn from sources that aren't just pen-and-paper or historical records. In doing so, I've been able to make new connections across disciplines, such as the urban planning of Indianola, MS, as it connects to churches as a site for political movement and also for religious congregation. This has helped me understand how each individual puzzle, from geography to religion to historical fiction, can fit into a broader understanding of survival, resistance, and "otherwise possibilities," as Ashon Crawley might describe it in Blackpentecostal Breath.

    • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

    ProQuest has been extraordinarily helpful for me to understand the musical history of sites of antiblack violence in areas I am studying, ranging from Kansas City (MO) to Indianola (MS) to Oakland (TN). Following historical newspapers has helped me understand how events like the backlash against Minnie Cox, the first Black female postmaster in MS, shaped people's movements in the mid-20th century, and connected to the rich history of blues in Indianola. I'm putting these documents in conversation with recorded oral histories of social movements as well, along with music throughout the ages, such as BB King's Indianola Mississippi Seeds, to understand the ways a city grows and changes in reaction to factors like migration and urbanization.

    Go to the profile of Erica Lee
    8 months ago

    So sorry for the late post! I got confused with the weeks and did not catch up in time. 

    With regard to my project, I encountered the new idea of marking yourself as a test subject. Prior to this research process, I had assumed that we were ‘not allowed’ as anthropological researchers to collect data on our own feelings and the ways that people approached us in the experiment. I had known that this information was meant to be included in the positionality and methods section of the paper, but being able to actually use it as data felt out of bounds. For me, this realization was part of a greater understanding that research is ruled by ethics and honesty, not rules — rather the rules we adhere to simply reflect the ethics conversations at play in the field of study. 

    Of course for me the best resource thus far has been my fellow researchers’ field notes and observations. Having teammates as academic and moral supports during this process has helped me find motivation and meaning in the project. As I continue my research, librarian consultations have been especially helpful for me. Specifically, the Teachers College librarians have been fantastic resources when it comes to searching the mammoth of a database that is Educat+.