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
27 Small-group selection & preliminary group work
1 April Assignment 7 due; documentation forms
3 Small-group work; no regular class
8 Small-group work; no regular class
10 Class held: Small-group presentations (= Asst. 8)
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.