As psychology and history double major, I’m no stranger to interdisciplinary concepts. However, I never had the opportunity to emerge in a cohort where everyone is unique, not just in terms of the field of interest but also in the research aims. One of the things I wish to learn from other Brackenridge recipients this summer is how their research experience may affect my understanding of research and whether or not I would be inspired or adopt a new methodology due to our interactions in the future.
As a part of Group 5 (aka group 1), I’m always excited to learn more about my peers and their research projects. If I have to choose one that surprises me the most, I would say Anna’s research is one of the kinds, especially the methodology she decided. Anna mentioned in our previous meeting that she was using oral history as a way of retrieving information from her participants with autism spectrum. This method reminds me of a class I took this spring where we concentrated on African history and how they documented history. Some African cultures, not all, use oral history as the only documentation source. In our discussion, some students pointed out the possibility of exaggeration and inaccuracy in using such a source. However, their oral history isn’t a linear path. It is a web-like structure where multiple individuals were given the details of their history from either one or several griots—professional historians but also the speakers of the king. That being said, although not all stories African historians told capture every detail of what went down in history, there are always some truths within their words. I’m excited to learn about Anna’s methodology because oral history isn’t as unreliable as expected. It is a valuable source for a particular field of study if recorded carefully.
Compared to Anna’s work and the work of others in my cohort, mine involves a lot of data analyzing and retrieving since we’re building a new measurement of socioeconomic status. By talking to peers in my cohort, I’m often inspired to consider different methodologies and the possibility of applying them to my research. I would describe the obstacles as not being able to understand specific terminologies. Several people in my cohort focused their research on biology and related field, and I often struggled to grasp information from our conversations. But I also consider it a benefit because by interacting with them, I learn something new every day. It is also interesting to see how people manage their time difference regarding research. My lab hours are usually from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, with some exceptions but typically pretty standard throughout the week. I’ve learned that some people go to the lab later because they’re more efficient working at night, and some choose to go in very early in the morning, even during weekends, so that they can get more things done. But despite our differences, I see one thing in common: our passion for research and our determination to reach for a better future.