Saturday, July 23, 2016

Stepping out into the World

Working on the Geography team, I've spent a great deal of my summer working within Menomonie. However, I've been able to break that trend last week working with the Sociology and Anthropology team.

Early in the week, the sociology team and I went north to interview a farmer about his land management practices, as well as his renting practices. While I have interviewed for the purpose of research before, it was very interesting to do so over the course of an hour while moving across the farmer's property. As a Geographer, I'm glad I was able to tag along to view the best management practices in use across the landscape in comparison with other practices. You can only understand so much by looking at a map before you need get out and see the world for yourself.

Later in the week, I was able to tag along for an oral history interview with the Anthropology team. The structure of this interview was much different than the Sociology team's interviews. While the interview with the Sociologists was active and full of probing questions, collecting the oral history was very sedentary, and the interview was held more like a conversation. The reason for these difference in techniques is due to the different data each team was trying to collect. Working with Geography, understanding how people view the landscape over periods of time can give context why the land is the way it is. 

I'm always happy to take part in the research of other disciplines. In my opinion, learning to view the world in a different context is one of the most important skills a researcher can have, and there's no better way to build that skill than working outside of your discipline from time to time.  

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