The discussions forums research clusters helped me practice the skill of collecting information and expanding the conversation by incorporating multiple sources and my own knowledge and beliefs. The clusters were fairly broad, so although I ended up making up my own topic, I was able to use one of the articles from the education cluster in my own research topic.
The library exercises were a good way to become acquainted with the library and realize how many sources were available there, when my first tendency is usually to find sources online, for the convenience and ease of access. I ended up actually studying in the library for the first time shortly after, since I gained a new appreciation for the beauty and serenity of the library.
The research slidedeck was super helpful in organizing my ideas and deciding how I wanted to present my information. I had to think of how I could make some complex ideas easy to understand, and realized that if it wasn’t clear with the added help of visuals, it would be very hard to understand in an essay format. So I made my slide deck very organized and concise. I also created a good flow of ideas, making sure they fit together nicely and made sense in the order they were in.
The prospectus and bibliography forced me to analyze whether my sources were good, and if I had any missing links in terms of sources and data. By laying out my project and answering key questions, I was able to see wherever I might need more information to make a point and also where else I could take my research if I wanted to change it. The prospectus helped me narrow my focus from corporate morality in our technologically-advancing society in general into the more specific topic corporate social responsibility in the tech sector.
I am becoming a better writer in that I am developing more complex ideas and learning how to analyze and connect topics in my writing for more dynamic and complex thoughts. I am becoming better at skimming text and pulling out important ideas to see if a source is useful, then delving back into sources to really understand them. I am becoming a better critical thinker in that I am exploring more complex ideas and how to address them in my writing, and learning what holes I need to fill in my arguments.
I would like to get better at forming complex ideas from my research, finding a good balance between using other people’s research and branching off into my own ideas in a way that is legitimate and logical, yet puts a new and interesting twist on a topic. I would also like to become a better researcher in general, by improving my skills in finding good sources and connecting them with other sources, then being able to write about them in a clear and concise way.