Friday, July 22, 2016

“No two persons ever read the same book.” ― Edmund Wilson

As with most research experiences, the most precise way to gain to see the full scope of a situation is to have a team mentality that is composed of members with different strengths and different areas of expertise. The LAKES program is no different. The acronym of LAKES reiterates this; Linking Applied Knowledge in Environmental Sustainability. The program links together so many different and equally important disciplines. While my focus is in anthropology, others focus in geography, math, sociology, and economics.

Before this experience, I never thought I could understand what methods and interpretations happen in other disciplines that are so different from my own, and in a way, I still don't understand, not the full scope anyway. But, what has happened is I am looking at my project in a whole new light. Because of the interdisciplinary aspect to the programs, I now gather new thoughts when trying to understand a situation, or interpret data. I think about the implications of my work in a way that allows me to question my own thoughts and put them in that perspective of another's research.

For instance, the economics team sent out surveys to local business owners and home owners in the area, mostly ones that live on the lake. The survey had questions about what they felt was worst about the lake, what is best about the community, and what the community would do monetarily to aid in helping the lake get better. The significance of this is mainly to understand the economic impact that a poor, polluted lake has on the community, property values, and tourism. Before this experience, economics seemed all numbers to me, and since math is not fun for me, I was not interested. However, I learned that economic impact correlates with ethnographic research because the people who answered those surveys weren't numbers, they were real people who had thoughts and concerns about the area they lived in. Now, when I write the questions for my interviews with local people, I make sure to ask questions that deal with the economic impacts of the lake, because it is important in trying to grasp the full picture of the significance the lakes uses/disuse has on the community.

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