In trying to determine a more specific topic for my research while at the ACM Newberry Seminar, I have found myself having a number of different conversations spanning a variety of mediums. Recently, I had conversations with two peers also participating in the Newberry Seminar using two different forms of communication: one face-to-face conversation and one discussion through Facebook messages. Surprisingly, both mediums were effective in producing a number of new ideas and approaches to the project; however, the feedback I gained seemed directly connected to the medium of each conversation.
The use of Facebook messaging seemed to create a slightly more formal conversation despite the informality of social media: as I attempted to explain what my interests and ideas were for the research project, I felt myself continually editing and attempting to clarify sentences. Ultimately, it ended up being more difficult for me to articulate my full range of thoughts because I was attempting to categorize my thoughts and make them into an organized paragraph. I still received helpful feedback and had a better idea about what I wanted to do with the project leaving the conversation, but the overall process was more strenuous and time consuming than my face-to-face conversation. With the latter discussion, our conversation seemed slightly more organic. We were able to bounce ideas off each other more easily and transition the conversation when one of us brought up a question— I found that this method was easier for me to construct my thoughts because I did not have to make them quite as cohesive or as explanatory. As the discussion continued, I was able to expand on my initial thoughts and answer questions to give a more cohesive view of my current ideas.
After these conversations, I believe the most beneficial next step is for me to start paging and examining the Newberry’s collections to further specify my topic. Currently I am interested in further investigating female protagonists in Midwestern and Appalachia literature. My major concern is ensuring that I will be able to utilize the Newberry’s holdings: I hope that in examining texts related to the themes I have thought about incorporating into my project that I will be able to come up with a more definitive frame for my research.