Situated Project Reflection

      Although our final project was a hypothetical proposal for a research project, it still gave me and my lab partner valuable skills and things to reflect upon. While we were both very proud of the work we created by the end, we encountered many roadblocks along the way. Our project ended up being a proposal to travel to Tanzania and study modern-day agricultural practices there, within the context of the aftermath that colonialism has left in Tanzania. When we started our research, we were bouncing around a lot of big and vague ideas that we could not translate well into a research proposal. It really was not until near the end of our project that we really narrowed down our scope of research. With this, we initially had a lot of trouble translating our larger framing question into a more specific and situated focus question. Being able to create a specific research question out of a larger framing question is definitely one of the skills that I was able to strengthen throughout this project, and one that will be helpful in research proposals in the future. Another problem that we ran into was the actual visual representation of our information on our poster. We had to organize our poster in a way that would be accessible for our audience to understand, and in a way that conveyed the three-tiered hourglass approach. We tired a few different ways of organizing our poster, that we both thought did both these things. Upon hearing feedback from our classmates and professor, we realized that although we thought the layout made sense, it did not convey those things to our audience in a clear way. There is definitely a disconnect in trying to convey information that you have been working on for so long and understand very well. Things that seemed intuitive or obvious to us came across as confusing to people who had no background on our project. We finally settled on a design that conveyed the information in a way that was more clear to an audience outside of our class and that stayed true to the hourglass idea. By the end of our project we had worked to create a physical representation, a poster, of the research question that we posed. Even though this project will likely not be carried out, it was still rewarding and a great learning experience to go through the process of making the proposal. I can foresee the skill of being able to write effective research proposals as being valuable in my future in Environmental Studies, and I think this exercise was a good place for me to begin to learn this skill.

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