Friday, July 22, 2016

Appreciating interdisciplinary research

After a few weeks of doing mostly interviews and participant observation for the Anthropology project, this week I got the chance to work with together with the Geography and Sociology team. We were looking at surveys sent to farmers from the previous years and trying to think of additional questions we could ask of the data from a geographic lens. In the course of our conversation, our experience from each of our projects guided our questions, contributions, and ideas. It was pretty neat to see how our focuses were subtly revealed but also worked together to consider the survey data. 

Later on, I also got the chance to learn some basic functions about ArcMap, a GIS (geographic information systems) program. I'm planning to take some introductory GIS classes, so I figured this could be a good opportunity to get a quick tutorial. I was glad to see that the program functions similarly to some Adobe programs (I used to major in design and am familiar with the Adobe Suite), at least in the function of layers and some of the more basic tools. I also got to see a map that showed all the people that were sent surveys compared to those that answered and returned surveys. I'm a very visual person, so I really appreciated just one way that GIS could be used to visually represent data and portray correlations.

Having ten other students with different focuses to bounce ideas off of and ask questions is great and keeps me open to other points of view. With that in mind, I'm looking forward to what the last couple of weeks of the project bring, especially as we're finishing up data gathering and moving full steam ahead into analysis.

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