Master's Experience #3: Week 5


This past week I had to conduct some research "in the field" because of my upcoming Midterm paper for my management class.

When preparing for my research period, I found this to be a really useful source regarding the "Participant Observation Method" that I was supposed to employ:

Participant Observation as a Data Collection Method

While my location for research isn't as exotic as the ones that field work is typically used for among anthropologists, I still found this to be really helpful in figuring out exactly what I was supposed to be doing. It helped me create some foundation questions regarding what I thought I should try to find answers to and what would be especially important to pay attention to.

For the Midterm, I have to write a 10 page paper (not including the reference page) regarding my observations of a library manager and analysis on those observations in relations to models of manager roles we have covered in class, that I also have to do additional research on.

Thanks to that project (and another one coming up in one of my core classes), I am now volunteering at a public library and in just 2 days I have learned a ton of on site information. I've already helped set up and aid with youth programs, learned how to man the reference desk, set up patrons on the computers, how books and other material ordering for the library is done, what a manager does, and was given a run down of the circulation system (locating patrons using their Texas ID when they don't have their library cards, how to put items on hold for patrons, and how to check in returned items). I have been surprised by how much experience I've already been able to gain in just two days of observation and volunteering.


In the past several weeks, this course has had me evaluating different types of resources. These are the ones I've done so far:

  • Dictionary
  • Encyclopedias 
  • Bibliographies & Catalogs
  • Indexes/Abstracts
  • Search Engines
  • Directories
  • Serials

Last week I was also doing a lot of catch up reading for this class in order to do a reading assignment. I've already ranked my assignments and put the ones that were most needed to be finished immediately as my top priorities and have settled this back until closer to the deadline. That may seem slightly ineffective, but for me it isn't, because I feel I have a better grasp on a topic when I cram read a bunch of things about it in one go, than spreading it around over several days and weeks. It sticks in my memory better so I can think about what I have read a lot more critically than if I let it sit.

UPDATE: As of 2 nights ago, that reading assignment is done, so all my focus can go to this week's presentation and midterm...largely the midterm because I'm pretty set with my work on the presentation and its only 10 minutes divided over 3 total people in my group.

The challenge for this week will be getting all my work done while having a cold, since I suddenly got sick after not having been sick in a pretty long while.


Week 5: 364

Running Total for the Semester: 902