I found beginning research to be very difficult. The first few weeks, I found the balance between academics, research, and extracurricular activities to put a strain on my workflow. I also struggled knowing where to start. The idea of corruption proved to be enormous, and nearly impossible to study because of the vastness of the concept. However, once I learned how to manage my time with the added hours of research per week, I got into a groove that proved efficient. I also spoke with my mentor and others that he has successfully worked with to learn more about the style of research that would best suit my schedule and discipline.
My understanding of research also altered greatly throughout this semester with this project. When most think of research, including myself before this semester, they most likely think of working in a lab or interviewing others. My research was mostly looking through history and how others define corruption in order to curate my own definition that was best suited for my research. At times I was envious of the hands-on abilities that other disciplines, such as the natural sciences, may have. However, I also was able to thoroughly enjoy gaining knowledge of both recent and far history through academic papers, journals, and books. I feel that I’ve learned a great deal about human nature and behavior just through researching historical examples of corruption.
At a certain point, my research took a turn. My mentor and I decided that defining corruption universally was going to be impossible because no one person is going to experience corruption the same. We decided to create a definition that worked for this project and apply it directly in a sense that was much more philosophical. I began research trying to find examples of corruption in order to define it, rather than defining corruption for myself and this project, and then applying them to cases that may or may not be considered corrupt. The paper I have attached to this post will serve as the best example of my definition and application of the word and concept of corruption.
This project has finished, but my interest in corruption and research has just begun. I will continue researching a similar topic over the summer with the Brackenridge Fellowship. My project will focus on Fear and Societal Perceptions in Law. Another paper attached to this post will demonstrate how fear impacts and drives corruption, and it seemed like a natural direction to go after this corruption project. With the added time and my new research experience, I am confident the Brackenridge will go well and increase my understanding of the American legal system and its flaws.