When I first began Dr. Soldani’s AMH 2020 class, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Right away I could tell she was someone who really enjoyed their job and who was very knowledgeable in the subject. I was extremely happy about this, however once she said we’d be researching casefiles through Ancestry.com, I almost second guessed whether or not I’d excel in this class. Researching is something I had never done before, something completely new to me. I had absolutely no clue where to start, and had no idea how to navigate through Ancestry. That all changed quickly however, as our first research assignment approached, Dr. Soldani eagerly began helping me with the whole process. She gave me a plethora of casefiles, all for me to navigate through and choose which one worked best for my research. After this, we were on our own, however Dr. Soldani was constantly open for questions, office hours and whatever it was that the class needed, she was always there. This was very encouraging to me, as it showed she truly cared about our research just as much as we did.
Beginning my first research assignment was tough, it was something I had never done before and was foreign to me. However, with the help of Dr. Soldani I began my journey and never looked back. I spent weeks researching my casefile, trying to gather as much data as I possibly could. The coolest part about all of this however, is that I had more than enough data to form a solid research assignment after a couple days. But I didn’t care, it wasn’t just about my grade at this point, it was more than that. I actually truly cared about the case and found myself doing anything possible to learn more about it.
The second research based assignment I did this year was also very different, yet interesting. I was randomly given copies of my classmates research, and it was up to me to peer review them, confirm their data and grade them based on what I had concluded. This was very cool to complete, as it allowed me to see what interesting things my classmates had discovered, it also gave me the chance to critique my classmates and help put them on a better track for future research. All in all, the peer review research assignment was one of my favorites all semester.
The third research assignment had basically the same idea as the first one, but with other options. I chose to research someone new, rather then the same person, as I enjoy learning new facts and data about people. My casefile was about a woman convicted of manslaughter, and was actually extremely interesting. I discovered so much more about this case once I dug deep, then I ever thought possible. Once again, I found myself digging deep for data because I wanted to, not because I wanted a certain grade. Overall, that is my favorite aspect of the research, that for once in college an assignment motivated me due to its content, rather than any grade I may earn.
Through these assignments, I learned so much about how to properly conduct research and report it. I learned how to navigate through Ancestry like it was nothing, and find everything I need. It was extremely cool to learn how to navigate through thousands of old documents, and finding ways of connecting one to another. I am extremely grateful Dr. Soldani incorporated these assignments into our coursework, as they are different then anything I’ve done before, the skills I’ve learned while doing them will stay with me forever. For us people as a whole, we all must be aware of how important research and analytical skills are for our future. Whether you’re a janitor, teacher, doctor, or lawyer it doesn’t matter. We all need advanced research and analytical skills to further succeed in this world.