Revised Research Question

After the great feedback I received on my research question, I did more investigating and saw that women are more likely to be diagnosed than men partly because they are more likely to seek medical attention.  I wanted to go back to the source of the depression and find out if women are more likely to develop depression based on the similar risk factors.  Therefore:

What are the similar depression risk factors for men and women and what (if any) makes women more likely develop these risk factors?

I pretty much changed the focus of my question but the two are related. I’m not sure if this question is any better than the last but I felt like it was more focused and had more clarity and research behind it, if that makes any sense.

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Interview with Professor Middleton

On Monday, September 23, 2013, I interviewed Professor Linda Middleton from the English department.  Originally I was supposed to meet with her the previous Friday, but she unfortunately got sinusitis and was sick.  Admittedly I was nervous for this interview because I am normally shy around people I don’t know well and although I do like to meet new people, interviewing a supersmart professor was intimidating for me.  However, Professor Middleton was extremely nice and talkative and put me at ease.  The conversation flowed smoothly, and although the majority of the conversation digressed from my original research oriented questions, I learned a lot about Professor Middleton and her life as a professor, along with interesting aspects of her research topics, including women’s anxiety towards authorship.  I am grateful I had this assignment to push me to meet with Professor Middleton because we are similar in a lot of ways. She double majored in psychology and English and I want to double major in Biology and English.  Also, she was originally doing pre-med and I am on the pre-med track right now.

Professor Middleton introduced me to new concepts and ideas about feminism and women in general which I found fascinating.  Although I was nervous at first, I now realize that I gained a lot of information and perspective through this interview that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have.

Borders and Horizon Lines

I enjoyed the guest presenter  Dr. Orou Gaoue from Botany on Thursday.  Even though I’m not particularly interested in plants or math, I found it fascinating how he integrated the two very different areas into his job.  I also found it amazing that he was so well-traveled and spoke so many languages.

Professor Jolly brought up the fact that what Dr. Gaoue does is interdisciplinary work.  This got me thinking about what I want my profession to be.  Although I want to become a doctor, I also want to write a book.  On Tuesday I found out that I can major in English and Biology.  Hopefully, if I end up earning these two degrees I can incorporate both vastly different fields into my job down the line.

I realize that many people do interdisciplinary work which I think not only makes a job more interesting but is extremely helpful.  If one is knowledgeable in different fields, one can use the knowledge in one field and apply it to another.  This is what I hope to do, whether it be using my writing skills typing up research reports or using my (future) knowledge of medicine when writing a book.

I also noticed in the article mentioned on the class blog that employees want people who can effectively communicate, whether in reading or orally.  I think these skills are so important and although in the article there was conflicting reports on the importance of college, I believe that anyone can develop these skills, in college or not, as long as they are intentional about it.  Some people say that our college system needs to change, and while that may be true, I think the system America has right now isn’t necessarily bad or ineffective.   In the month of college I learned so many new things, not only in academics but about me and the world I live in.

Balance

choose

 

I love college. However, I constantly have to struggle to find balance between school, sleep, a social life, clubs and extracurriculars, and time to myself.  In high school, I had admittedly not much of a balance, putting most of my energy into school and extracurriculars.  I wanted to make a conscious effort in college, however, to make the most out of my experience and have balance.

The illustration above is a minimalist depiction of the balancing act college students must do.  This image doesn’t include work, school clubs, church, eating time, gym time, etc.  Although I haven’t found it too difficult to fit in time for everything, I know it will my schedule will fill up more as the year goes on.

Case in point: This past week I had my first Chemistry test. I put the pressure on myself to do well because it was my first ever exam in college and I especially  need to do well in this class because it is a science.  I basically threw myself into studying for Chem and I have to admit, I didn’t balance everything as well as I could have.  I procrastinated. I didn’t go to the gym. I missed my small group.  I didn’t get enough sleep. All I could think was I have to get an A.

The time of the test came and as I went through it I was surprised.  I put so many hours into studying and this test is still challenging. Was the study time even worth it? I questioned myself.

Looking back, I have to answer, yes and no.  Of course I should have studied as much as I did, because school is a priority. Nevertheless, could I have spent an hour going to the gym. If I prepared earlier, I could have went to my small group.  And I definitely needed to go to bed earlier.

I definitely don’t regret anything, but now I understand that no amount of reasonable studying will ever make me 100% for a test.  It’s important to make time for other equally important aspects of my life.  Moving forward, I will now try to be more intentional when it comes to how I spend my time, and not get caught up in the grade.

Image from: http://www.likeyou.me/index.php/liketwo/sleep-social-life-grades/953/

Preliminary Research Question

Previously, I mentioned in class that I wanted to do a research question that dealt with athletics, because I have always been interested in sports and more specifically, sports medicine.  However I could not come up with a question that was interesting or significant enough to pursue this topic.

Instead, I decided to turn to the topic of depression in women.  I’ve been reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath which brought up this topic.  Sylvia Plath is one of my favorite poets/writers, but her story is very sad. She suffered from depression for many years and took her life by putting her head in an oven.  The Bell Jar chronicles experiences based off of Plath’s life, including her depression.  When I read The Bell Jar I was startled at the sense of morbidity dealt with depression. Furthermore, I was shocked at the use of Electric Shock Treatment and could not believe it was legal and not uncommonly used to treat depression.

I researched depression (aka Google) and found out that women are much more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men.  This didn’t surprise me, but only made me more curious about the subject.  The research question I am toying with is:

Why are women more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men?

I want to refine this question to include more specific reasons, such ” What are the hormonal, genetic, and societal reasons that women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men?” but I need to work on the phrasing.  I also want to narrow down the topic as necessary.

Hopefully this is a good start to my research question! At the very least, it is a subject that strongly interests me.

The Importance of Research

Why is research important? This is a question I never thought to ponder until reading the first chapter of A Manual for Writers by Kate L. Turabian.  In the chapter, she states that research reports must include facts that others accept to be truth.  I realized that research is important because it showcases a variety of information (statistics, experiments, primary sources) that are more likely to be unbiased truth, than say, a generalized report whose results only showcase things that will benefit the writer/company who uses it.  Research gathers information from different, reliable sources which will altogether prove a point.  If people didn’t research, there would be no way to determine a definite truthful answer.

I believe that John Newman would strongly support research in a university, because I believe that in some ways, research is the search for truth.  Newman states,” Truth, a subtle, invisible, manifold spirit, is poured into the mind of the scholar by his eyes and ears, through his affections, imagination, and reason; it is poured into his mind and is sealed up there is perpetuity, by propounding and repeating it, by questioning and requestioning, by correcting and explaining, by progressing and then recurring to first principles, by all those ways which are implied in the word “catechizing.”*  I believe that much of the actions Newman describes with truth is also found in research (“propounding and repeating…questioning and requestioning…correcting and explaining… progressing.”)  Research allows students to seek truth and learn throughout the process.

When thinking about the importance of research, TED Talks came to mind.  TED stands for Technology, Education, and Design, and is a company that holds conferences all around the world where people can introduce new innovations and ideas.  They often also present a call to action after revealing their information.  TED Talks almost always use some form of research to support their claims, and many talks stem from research findings.  I think that John Newman would love the idea of TED Talks, as it allows people from all across the globe to come together and discuss new findings (Many talks are published online as well).

Here are a few of my favorite TED Talks that show the importance of research:

This is a 15-year-old named Jack Andraka who found a new way to diagnose cancer based on his own research.

Shawn Achor is a hilarious speaker who presents his research findings on how happiness really works.

This is an extremely popular TED Talk by Brene Brown who presents her research on what people must do to really connect with others.

*Quotation from http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/newman/newman-university.html