I want to start off by saying this class was no easy task for me and I have never done well with a lot of writing projects. I was very challenged by this class and had to think critically for all of the research projects Dr. Soldani assigned us. This ended up being my most challenging class and the most fun I have had taking a class. My First research project was on multiple women
that spent time in the prison system in the early 1900’s. A few of the subjects in my first case study were connected to well know criminals which made it very interesting to research them. I used multiple websites like Ancestry.com and Newspapers.com to gather a lot of information about the subjects in my case study. I spent many hours researching and gathering as much information as I could. One of the most challenging aspects of the assignment would be hitting a dead end during the research and having to try many different avenues to collect more information. You had to think outside the box on these assignments.
My second project was joying to complete because I got the opportunity to research my own family history. I found out my great great grandfather discovered silver in Utah during the mid 1800’s. I just couldn’t believe it. I was able to find log books, draft cards, census reports, newspaper articles, obituaries, and even historical websites had information on my family. I found out so much about my ancestors as well as how they were connected in history. Many of my ancestors were pioneers and settlers. I also had plenty of family members that went
through and served in the great world wars as well as the great depression. Each assignment was around 1000 words or more, so the great majority of time spent doing these projects was spent in researching and reading and trying to gather as much information as possible. My grade from the first project to the second project increased and it was directly a result of spending more time in research and finding as much good information as possible.
I learned a great deal of history doing these projects. I learned about the late 1800’s and about the Mormon migration to Utah. I also learned how women were treated very differently than men and did not have equal rights or standing in society during this time period. Doing these projects, I learned how to navigate many informational websites rather than just typing something into google and seeing what popped up. I learned that I needed to manage my time as well as possible and it showed in my grades from the first project to the second project.
On top of doing the research were given the assignment of reviewing are classmates projects. This gave me a different perspective on how people gathered their information, what websites they used, and how they wrote their research papers. I did five peer reviews and each one taught me something new whether it was a historical a fact or information on one of their research subjects. The case studies that I got to review were really good and I was impressed with how much information each of my classmates were able to find and report on. Over all I thought I learned as much if not more doing the peer reviews as I did my own research projects.
Doing these projects taught me so much about how to research and what to look for as well as the historical information that I learned. My critical thinking after taking this course is so
much better than it was before I took this course with Dr. Soldani. I think it is very important to have assignments like this in college, so students like myself have an opportunity to learn how to think at a high level and to think analytically. Many Careers now and in the future will need these types of skills. It is very important to cultivate these skills through practice. Dr. Soldani was there if we had any questions or got stuck but the responsibility fell on me the student to put the work in and earn the grade. I know after taking this class I am now much more prepared moving forward in my studies as well as when I get into my career.