Picking a Topic was Hard, Starting Research is Harder

As soon as I chose my topic of goal-setting I knew I was going to come across a few roadblocks while researching. Since my topic is pretty intangible, I was immediately overwhelmed (see GIF below for reenactment) with the amount of information I would have to sift through in order to make my argument and establish my credibility. Did I want to start with online articles? Or maybe head to the library and ask a librarian? Perhaps I’ll check out the Netflix documentaries and see if there’s one that matches up. As you can see, I was struggling. Struggling big time.

Jon Stewart GIF

Initially, I thought the only type of research I would have to do revolved around the psychology of goal-setting. However, I’m starting to discovery that the history of goal-setting and why American culture in particular places such a strong emphasis on goals is more important for my argument. This shift is helping me to narrow my focus on certain aspects of goal-setting as opposed to attacking the entire subject.

Furthermore, my research will come from a combination of “traditional” academic research from scholarly journals and books in addition to more “popular” forms such as online magazines and websites. In particular, Forbes Magazine articles seem to have the most information on my topic that both agrees and disagrees with my argument. It seems like every time I scroll through Forbes.com, I find another article that I can use for my project. This is both a blessing and a curse because I feel like before I know it, I’ll have over 100 articles and no other sources. I will be making a conscious effort to diversify my sources to strengthen my argument.

Example Forbes Article

Finally, I’m most excited to learn about how other people view goals during my interviews. I haven’t decided exactly who I will be interviewing, what type of questions I will ask, or how I will conduct the interviews, but I am looking forward to diving into this. I think I am most excited for this part because I’m a people-person and love to share experiences with others. I believe experiential learning is the most valuable type of learning available. Thus, I want to use other’s experiences as a main point in my Repurposing Project, especially since goal-setting is an entirely human, and person-by-person, choice.

Some other things that might be helpful to know are that my topic is rather personal to me because I’ve always had an interest in the ways that goal-setting has inhibited me in my own life. However, I want to make my repurposing project relatable for all kinds of 20-somethings. Bridging that gap between too personal and too broad will be something I will discuss more in upcoming blog posts, so keep an eye out! If you have any questions for me, feel free to leave them in the comments below. All of your suggestions have been extremely helpful!

Puppy GIF

Caroline Rafferty

Caroline is a Lauren Conrad aficionado with more clothes than sense. Currently suffering with a severe case of wanderlust and wondering why more people don't like jicama, Caroline is an extremely gifted napper who is a Communications major. Between reading "Into The Gloss" and listening to her "rbf" Spotify playlist, Caroline writes about anything that comes to mind. Anything.

2 thoughts to “Picking a Topic was Hard, Starting Research is Harder”

  1. I find it interesting that you think of goal setting as a personal choice. I’ve always felt like people are driven by very specific goals or loose ones, so it interesting that you think of it as more individualized thing.

    I’m not sure its feasible to make a project relatable for all kinds of 20-somethings, because there are so many variables within one’s life. I guess I would just be caution when making assumptions about what people want/don’t want, which is what goal setting is all about. Our goals at UM seem very driven by the American dream, a sort of revitalized dream that is more about material wealth and entrepreneurship than it is family and relationships and health. It would be interesting to see how much of your project talks about material wealth.

  2. Caroline: Like Kennedy, I find it very interesting that goal setting can have a tendency to be more individualized and personal. There have been times in my personal and academic careers where I’ve felt goal setting can either be an excellent tool to accomplish new things, or a boundary from discovering other avenues of thinking. Given how we can get so incredibly caught up in a material sense of being in society, and how so many of our goals revolve around attaining material gains, I am incredibly interested in learning more about the pshychology of goal setting, and how this topic comes up in the interview process!

    Great work so far Caroline, and I very much look forward to your final project!

Leave a Reply