These research assignments enhanced my abilities not only on what the material was that we were supposed to do research on but as well as learning how to use my computer in ways that I was never thought. When the first research assignment was assigned, I was a little hesitant, but eager to find out what people lives were like back in the old days. The first research assignment, we could choose from three categories that include, slaves, census, or a criminal case. My initial thought was to research with in the category of slavery so that’s what I grabbed and ran with. I felt that in order to get to know the slave that I chose, I had to first learn their background and where they came from, but as I searched through Ancestory.com and several online newspapers for hours I could not find anything in regards to their past. After I was unsuccessful with my first round of research, I then decided from there that I was not happy running into a brick wall and getting no where with research, I changed my casefile to the category criminal cases and began researching my criminal. It was like a gold mine compared to the information that the Internet provided on the slave; I was able to find where he went to prison, where and when he committed his crime as well as to see if he had any priors records. Once I found out just about all I could on my criminal I then began to research if in this era these crimes were common and whether his sentence was fair or not. At this point in my research I had begun searching the background and crime records of the criminal for close to three hours. Once I was satisfied with what I had found from his criminal records I then began searching through his family’s background to see what exactly his motives were; whether poor or prideful and other important information I needed to know to have a valid research paper. As I continued in my search, I continued look further through this criminal’s past, I had barley realized that four hours had already gone by because for the first time I was actually enjoying doing a research paper. The reason why I enjoyed it so much is because I was able choose the direction of which I wanted the paper to go and in the end it made the doing research and evaluating what I found lot more interesting.
This casefile to me was very intriguing because my dad is a cop and he experiences things like this on a day-to-day basis. Not only was this a major factor in why I was so excited research though criminal records but also because I was able experience research in a new way, I learned history in a way that appeals to me, rather than having an educator stress and strain information that does not invoke my interests, resulting in memorization instead then actual education. Being offered the chance to do research in this way, has taught me more about American history than I ever known. The reason why I feel this taught me so much is because I am a hands-on learner and I am able to focus better in a non-class room setting by myself. It is hard for me to learn in a classroom environment, where I am just being constantly being lectured on what to do instead of me being able to experience it myself. There were many ways the research help me improve my learning style such as, researching and analyzing through old documents that included abbreviations that are not common today. The census book back then was hand written and also written in cursive, at first it was difficult to make out what the document contained but as I continued I was able figure out most of the writings, this was able to enhanced my ability in interpreting and recalling the information from these aged documents because I felt that reading it multiple times over, I was able to fully grasp the information. With the peer reviews I was able to see the work of my peers, which was enjoyable because I like learning about history especially on my own like I have stated before. Reading and reacting to my peers’ case files was an interesting experience, first of all because I like giving my opinion on topics that I can relate to and also with history being my favorite subject, it was easy for me to form my opinion and help educate my peers on certain topics that I feel I have a surplus of knowledge in.
Overall, I enjoyed my time researching and evaluating through a vast amount of old documents and archives. Although, I did feel that it was difficult at times to find specific details about the past because of how limited the resources were to document these facts. With it now being the 21st century I feel that in order to have well documented events, it is a very important factor to these advanced research and analytical skills. Analytical skills are kind of problem solving skill, they enable you to assess straightforward or complex issues. This skill incorporates many skills like attention to detail, basic reasoning capacity, basic leadership skills, and being able to scan through detailed accounts of events in order to answer any problem or issue that come our way. With the advancement of technology nowadays the ability to research and shape our lives with the knowledge of others, teens are able to excel and flourish at a quicker pace than back then. Also with the technology adapting and reshaping the world around us, we have almost all of the information the world has to offer at our fingertips. With our generation benefitting from all of the resources and information that technology has to offer, the world is being flooded with young, creative, and also intuitive minds.