Brackenridge Blog Post #2

The Brackenridge fellowship strives to help undergraduate researchers learn about student research, scholarship, and creative methods across disciplines. What I hope to learn from the other Brackenridge recipients is the different ways of communicating ideas across different disciplines. In my Brackenridge cohort there are people doing work in biology, art history, economics, etc. Hearing them talk about the complex ideas behind their research has helped me think of different ways to refine and better explain what my project is about. This works both ways, as I ask questions about what they’re doing, which in turn helps them simplify and better explain their ideas. I hope as the fellowship continues, I will be able to learn about different ways of communicating from the other recipient’s elevator pitches, 360 videos, and other research outcomes.

I do not see too many similarities between my work and the work of other Brackenridge projects. Many people in the Brackenridge Fellowship are doing research that involves work in a lab and the rigorous application of the scientific method. My project does not involve a lab or the scientific method. For my project, I am collecting an oral history of people’s memories of the Century III mall and building a demo for a 3D video game. One outcome of my project, writing two well researched essays about abandoned mall’s connection to Gothic Horror and Spatial Theory, does connect with other people’s projects and research methods. One Brackenridge project that interests me is Greta Barnes’ research into the painter Artemisia Gentileschi. She is looking into the artist’s painting, such as Madonna and Child, that have been understudied. This project interests me because I’m super interested in both Art History and Visual Literacy. Her research methods using visual analysis also connect with how I connecting the aesthetic of abandoned malls to Gothic Horror.

I think the benefits to working with people across disciplines are numerous. Mark Twain wrote “if your only tool is a hammer then every problem looks like nail.” In a similar vein, if you approach your research only from the ideas from your field, then you risk overlooking different solutions that may lie in other fields of research. While working with people across disciplines has many benefits, but there are many obstacles. One obstacle is in how you communicate your ideas. Someone doing research in a STEM field will have to dumb down and explain simple concepts to a person in a non STEM field. The research methods that non STEM versus STEM researchers use are different because STEM research usually involves the scientific method while non STEM research does not.

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