Assignment 7

Due: April Fools' Day

Since one of a researcher's best resources is other people, an important skill is finding people who can help you. Most local experts will be glad to give some help and advice to a student interested in their field.

Find and talk to two authoritative people who can help your research. Such people can either provide you with good data themselves or (more likely) advise you how you could get 'hold of the information you need. Possibly they could even give you a few photocopies. (Each person might well be able to recommend additional people who could help you, too.)

Face-to-face interviews are best. A telephone conversation is acceptable if an in-person interview is inconvenient for the other person or impossible for you.

For this assignment, write a narrative of your visits with these two people. Tell how you found them, where and when you met, how your meeting(s) with them went, what specific information or advice they gave you, whether or not they made you feel comfortable, and in general how much help they were able to be to you. Be sure to report the name, title, address, and phone number of each.

Suggestions on finding people: For a business or government agency, you might first call and ask to speak to their public relations officer. Ask the p.r. person if she could recommend someone in the organization who would be willing to speak to you or--alternatively--if she could help you. For a researcher or scholar, call up some local colleges. Connect to the secretary of a likely-sounding department and ask her if any professor in the department has some expertise in the area you're researching. If you don't know which department to ask for, call the secretary of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and ask her which department you should call.

Your grade for this assignment will be based in part on the authoritativeness of the people you find. A professor of sociology or a state game control officer counts more than your cousin Elmo, who goes squirrel hunting once in awhile. Librarians and your professor are important people to discuss your project with, but they don't count for this assignment.

Schedule for next four weeks:

25 March Discuss assignments, return papers, reading exercise
27 Small-group selection & preliminary group work
1 April Assignment 7 due; documentation forms reviewed
3 Small-group work; no regular class
8 Small-group work; no regular class
10 Class held: Small-group presentations (= Asst. 8)
15 TBA
17 Class held: Major Paper 2 (Asst. 9) due.

Note: It is possible that the people you have found may not be able to meet with you before April 1. If that is the case, on April 1 submit a note naming your two sources and stating the date(s) you have scheduled a meeting. Submit your writing for the main assignment as soon as you can after your meetings. If a person cannot meet with you in time to be useful to your research project, then find someone else.