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greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement

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What have you researched?

You can enjoy researching something, it can be tedious, or you might have other feelings. What have you researched? How did you do it? Did you enjoy it or not, and why?

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Closing Statement from greg dahlen

well, I enjoyed hearing about people's different projects. The most useful abstractions I got from the conversation came from Fritzie Reisner, who clarified the difference between formal, academic research and informal home research, but also suggested they might not be so different; and Carolyn mcauley, who made me think about what is an experiment, and what experiments do I, and others, do in our personal lives.

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    Jan 16 2014: I have researched life, and will continue to do so. Yes, I've enjoyed every minute of it....even the challenges....because at the end of the research/experience, there is learning and growth, which contributes to peace and contentment:>)
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      Jan 16 2014: Colleen, I know you've provided me valuable links on quite a variety of subjects. I think I asked you before if there are any subjects you have dwelt on, where you've really stayed with them a long time and looked into them deeply? Have you ever had occasion to research something related to your gardening? How did you do it? If you have never researched something at length and deeply, is that by preference, I know I haven't got too many subjects that I've stuck with at length, I prefer to learn a little bit about this and a little bit about that.
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        Jan 21 2014: Hi Greg!
        “Research comprises "creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications."[1] It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems, or develop new theories”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research

        That being clarified, I have been researching gardening for 60+ years. Reading TONS of books, exploring, experimenting with various methods and practices, including methods for preserving foods and various uses of herbs for culinary, medicinal and therapeutic uses, making herb oils, salves, creams, herbal bath/shower scrubs, and herb vinegars. I’ve learned about how to dry, freeze and store produce for my own consumption in the winter months when the gardens are not producing. The most important part of research, for me, is application.

        When I started refinishing antique furniture for my own use, I read books, took classes, and learned how to strip and refinish various kinds of wood, do chair seating (cane, rush, splint, cord, etc.), and also learned how to upholster furniture. I studied various styles of antique furniture, and my research/knowledge led to a small antique business, thereby applying the information.

        When I started managing rental units that my husband and I owned, some of which were government subsidized elderly and disabled housing, I studied and researched the rules and regulations, and was required to attend management educational sessions periodically. I continued to apply the information, and learn more for the 25 years I managed the housing.

        When I physically participated in the restoration of 4 historic buildings, I studied structures, building practices of the time in which the structures were built, styles, etc.
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          Jan 22 2014: Fantastic, Colleen. Now what would you say is the difference between what you did here, and what a professional researcher, say a laboratory scientist, does? Or is there any difference?
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        Jan 21 2014: continued...
        When I volunteered at a women/children’s shelter, training sessions were required to be able to work with a vulnerable population. In addition to the required sessions, I read quite a few books about the topic and studied the psychology underlying violence and abuse. I lived with violence and abuse as a child, so it was not a new topic for me, and there are so many different dynamics to it, that one can probably study and research it for a lifetime, which I probably will be doing.

        When I volunteered with the dept. of corrections, there were training sessions, and because I have always been interested in human behavior, I studied and researched more about offenders, while actually working with them for about 6 years. I have quite a few friends who are psychologists, and sociology professors, so in depth conversations with them helped quite a bit. I was also trained through the dept. of corrections in the “Real Justice” model, which included training for mediation.

        When I traveled extensively, I read lots of books about the area I was traveling to, learned a few words of the language, studied and learned about the culture, history, traditions, socioeconomics, geography, etc.

        After a near fatal head/brain injury I researched NDE/OBEs, read hundreds of recorded cases, explored scientific research on the topic and researched, explored and practiced various religious and philosophical beliefs, to see if there was any connection. I also studied brain function, because the prognosis was that I would never function "normally" again. I wanted to find out what the heck that meant for me the rest of my life:>)

        This is only a small example....as I said.....I explore and research life and will be doing that until I take the last breath:>)
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          Jan 22 2014: Fantastic, Colleen. I really admire you for having so many interests. Do you think you "got good" at all these fields? Now you also had said before you "research life." But you would agree that life is vast and deep, no matter how much we research we will die with a million topics unresearched? So would it be more correct to say that you researched certain aspects of life? Or is there really some sense in which you "researched life"?
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        Jan 23 2014: Thank you Greg,
        To answer your first question in your previous post.....I provided the accepted definition of "research", which I accept as well:>)

        I cannot imagine living a life without various interests and in depth exploration. You know one of my life philosophies is to learn, grow and evolve as an individual while contributing to the whole. So I am doing/living/being that to the best of my ability:>)

        I got to a level with my explorations/research where I learned and understood some things better, more in depth, and could apply them to the life adventure. What I discovered, is that one thing led to the next....to the next....on and on. As a curious person, I simply followed the evolving explorations.

        Yes Greg...I agree that life can be "vast and deep", and I know that everything will not be explored by me before I die. My intent, is simply to live life as fully as possible while I'm here. I research life Greg, to the best of my ability in every moment:>)
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        Jan 23 2014: When people say "research" in colloquial conversation, they typically mean made personal observations and looked stuff up. Using that definition, EVERYONE does this all the time. People look more closely into some things than others, some tending toward acquaintance with many areas and others toward depth in few. Even among those who inquire in depth, how well people really get to the bottom of a subject varies depending on how systematically they work and their insight.

        The research methods involved in scholarship include observing and looking up what others have said or written but very much do not end there. For example, there are scholarly standards of rigor of observation that distinguish those observations from a typical layperson's observation on the same subject.

        With the internet, everyone who looks something up in a search engine can think of himself as a researcher if he chooses. Someone who compares offerings and products at different hardware stores can consider that research as well.

        I think it is reasonable for anyone to interpret your question either in terms of all the kinds of stuff a person likes to look up or get involved in with a reflective mindset or which particular areas a person reads in in more depth.
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          Jan 23 2014: when scholars do research, do they typically bite off a larger topic than someone doing home research? I suppose another difference might be that a scholar researches with the intent of eventually sharing the discoveries, whereas someone researching products is only looking for their own benefit.
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        Jan 23 2014: I don't think one can make these generalizations. Those doing "home research" are often interested in their own "theory of everything" and try to get to a position that satisfies them through informal means of looking and reading. Some scholars study something small with an interest in that small thing or with an eye to being able to extrapolate from that small study to something larger. There are biologists who study the worm c.elegans or another simple sea creature to study learning and memory more broadly, for example.

        While scholars research with an eye to sharing and pushing the boundaries of their field, people who are not scholars may well intend to share what they believe they have discovered. The arenas in which they share will be different. Or more accurately, scholars will share their work mostly among colleagues, though some, called "public intellectuals" or some of the TED speakers seek to reach an audience without background in their fields. We have participants here who study areas professionally that they share in professional settings but engage on more popular or widely accessible matters here. For example, there is a participant engaging this week who is a researcher in veterinary medicine, I believe, but is not here sharing his ideas about the medical challenges of animals and best practices in addressing those.

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