Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fruit of Organization

       Since being back from the both coasts of the country, I've gotten the opportunity to settle back at Loyola and prepare for the coming semester. I've been trying my best to stay organized: not always an easy task. But as I reflect on this summer's internship researching experience, I thought about how essential it was to make sure that all my sources were well organized. Organization keeps our lives in the order in which we want them. This project, in particular, may have not gone as well as it did if all the information was not kept in order. Newspaper articles, interview questions, transcribed interviews, IRB materials, census information, photos, all had their respective digital folders for easy access. Now the reason I thought it was so important to lay out all my sources in this way is because the foundation to this whole research project was a marriage between sources. In order to present something as true, I tried my best to corroborate one source with another. For instance, when examining the interviews I conducted with those with close ties to the events surrounding the riots, I searched my other sources to see if the information was matching or contradictory what was stated. In some cases it made a certain point stronger, and in others it proved uncertainty. But that's exactly what you want when creating knowledge. As students of history, it is our responsibility to make sure that we present the facts as they truly are. 

          Now that my draft for the paper is done, the next step is to make it better. First, I'll do this by taking into account the suggestions of my mentor Dr. Michelle Nickerson and graduate student Crystal Jackson of the McNair Scholars Program. The next step would be to work on it during the upcoming fall semester in the Honors History seminar. Making this project into an honors thesis would allow me to make it the best it could possibly be so that it may be used as a springboard to graduate school but also to make a final product with significant implications. Much will be added. An appendix featuring maps, original graphs and charts will help to add to the comprehensive nature of the paper. My hope is that the findings of this project will shed light on the complexities of the human condition of those living in an urban environment, in this case, a very strained one. But until then, I have much to learn and I will continue to work on mastering this craft.

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