As a mini assignment for Shelley’s class, we were asked to choose drafting development mini assignment and write a blog post about it. Considering I have experienced nothing but complications with my project, I thought the discovering complications assignment was quite fitting. Write a few paragraphs about the funny side, the absurd side, the dark side, or the maddening side of your project.
My idea for the capstone project was to create a website for the general public to use to help them navigate scientific articles. I wanted to include a words to know section, an explanation of the scientific process, and most importantly interviews with scientists giving advice to people reading their papers. I started my interviews and heard a lot of positive feedback from those I was interviewing. Most everyone I talked to agreed that something like this is needed today.
I had a few basic questions such as What are you studying? Who do you communicate your work to? Any advice you want to give to non-scientists looking to read scientific articles? I couldn’t get some of the people I interviewed to stop talking with these questions. A dialogue formed and we explored topics I hadn’t even considered before, such as the cost of open-access publishing. On the other hand, some scientists I spoke to barely gave me answers to what I asked. One word responses made it difficult to continue a conversation. (Not much to talk about when I ask if they have advice and their response is no…)
I was stuck. I couldn’t present these interviews in a Q&A style format now because the length of the answers would vary significantly (I prefer everything to be unified in length, size, and color). Additionally, as a senior about to graduate, I found myself asking the scientists questions about their careers and interests once we entered an open dialogue. I am about to start my first job, so naturally I am curious about the path people took to get where they are today. These conversations were probably the most intriguing to me, which got me thinking… what if this website was geared towards aspiring scientists rather than the general public? What if gave insight to incoming freshman on what health-related careers are out there (health-related because I spoke to Doctors, Physicians, Clinicians, and scientists studying health and cancer).
Those I spoke to who were a little less talkative still spoke plenty about what they study, meaning I wouldn’t have to worry as much about the length of their interviews. And as my blog group suggested in class, I could just take a few quotes from my interviews rather than typing it all up. I decided all of this before my final interview, so when I was speaking to the scientist, I discussed the development of my project. He was very supportive of my choice. Although he still thinks there is a need for my initial idea, he agreed that there was a need for my second one as well. And considering the time frame for our capstone, he thought it would be more realistic as well.
So here I am two weeks before this project is due with a completely new outlook on the entire thing. I can feel a panic attack coming along, but this is where my interviews took me. I know as a freshman I would have wanted a resource such as this. Now if only the Pre-Health advising people would email me back about what they think would be useful in a site such as this…. complications. I guess they’re inevitable.