I spent the past semester learning about the process of research. At the onset of the semester we were to chose an area of inquiry. I selected the Jewish cultural artifact called a Kippah, a head covering worn by Jewish males, as my area of interest. I would have liked to believe that the reason I chose the Kippah was because I knew in my heart that the Kippah would embody a larger idea that synthesized multiple areas of scholarship; I simply had to home in on a few discourse communities in order to discuss and refine this idea. But really I chose to study the Kippah because it was the area of inquiry deemed most interesting by my peers. Nonetheless the personal learning network assignment helped me map out connections across the disciplines and opportunities for research related to this cultural artifact. Through working on the assignment I found that sociologically speaking, individual cultural artifacts can be studied in order to better understand the larger ideas within a culture. From a rhetorical perspective, fashion made a visual argument about the wearer’s identity. Philosophy, as expected, questioned the nature and meaning of identity. These were ideas that I would further develop in the blog assignment. This non-traditional writing assignment furthered me in my journey on the pathway to discovery. The blog gave me the chance to explore the discourse communities identified in the personal learning network assignment without the barriers of strict writing conventions, rules, and regulations. Blogging also gave me a process through which my idea could develop and be refined via constant self reflection. I could trace the development of my idea on paper. For the final step in the research process our class was assigned an academic synthesis paper. At first the assignment conjured up images of long nights in the library, papers upon papers everywhere, and many sleepless nights and bottomless cups of coffee. But then I realized that I was not starting this assignment from scratch. I had developed a learning networked, blogged about and developed my idea, and had already read research across multiple disciplines. This academic synthesis paper turned into one of the coolest assignments. It became an opportunity for me to really bring all of my seemingly disparate ideas together in some kind of grand synthesis. This type of assignment proved to be the key to my research process and encouraged me to take my idea to a more complex level.
This blog has been about showcasing the development of my idea through the process of research. The personal learning network showed what was on my mind when I began conducting research. The blog posts, going from oldest to newest, are a record of the progression in the complexity of my ideas. But even the blog does not articulate the finalization of my ideas. This is accomplished by the academic synthesis paper. Additionally a final creative project, seen as a video blog post, allowed me to articulate my grand idea to a non-academic audience.Together these three major assignments took me on a journy of research, incubation of an idea, and finally delivery of the idea to two different very different audiances.
A note to the reader: I have not revised any of the previous assignments. They display proudly as is on the blog. I was happy with the way they turned out. Although not perfect, the assignments as they stand best articulate my development as a writer. Changing them now would only throw of the flow of my journey on the pathway to discovery and my development as a researcher and writer.