Clever Education, Education, Teacher

Get Out in the Field and Make it Your Classroom

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Are you a college student?  If you are, have you ever considered getting some schoolwork done by going on a research project?  It may not be a thing everyone wants to do, but some folks can gain a lot by working in the field.  Particularly if you have a career already identified, you can get a lot from working on a project in the field.  And that experience might be part of your college credit.  You might even use it as the basis for your thesis or doctoral research.

Independent study and research requires that you demonstrate your ability to discipline yourself and to compose a good outline of what you intend to accomplish and document as part of the effort.  It can last an entire semester, or the work might take no more than a weekend.  But you must return with information and products that can be of valuable not just to yourself but to others.

One case might serve as an example: a student recently wanted to study public preferences for parking facilities in a town near the college.  The student researched survey design and drew up a simple list of questions to ask drivers who stopped at the toll booth where she worked that summer break.  Their responses were tabulated on a computer for later review and analysis.  The student then took a few days to relax at the nearby Crowne Plaza Hotel during the spring break.  She took advantage of a Groupon promo code that got her a 30% discount on the room rates so she could avoid the high prices common to most hotels during the spring break period.  And after returning to campus she used the techniques she’d learned from that semester’s statistics class to help produce a report that identified what many drivers wanted done about parking problems in the town.  The report impressed her statistics professor so much that parts of it were published in a guest column in the local paper.  That impressed a few others – before she graduated she received job offers from two research organizations, a local marketing firm and the town government!  Not bad results for someone who asked a few drivers questions and compiled the results while relaxing in a hotel suite.

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