Reflecting back on my journey from high school to ENVS 330, I have come to see that many of the classes I have taken in the past, and those I will take in the future will strengthen some of the skills I was already taught and introduce me to new ones. One of the skills that has and continually becomes more relevant in pursuing my research is that of interdisciplinarity and viewing issues and contexts from multiple perspectives. This skill is something that I learned whilst doing geography in high school, at a macroscale. Since taking classes in economics, sociology and history, it continues to be fortified, through taking these classes as I have come to learn the frameworks and methods they contribute to viewing an issue and context, and also in the various quantitative and qualitative methods they have imparted to me. This is a crucial skill in conducting interdisciplinary research as it helps enrich one’s body of work and also gives a more wholistic picture of a place or an issue. One thing I have also noticed in that certain ideas (i.e- The Tragedy of the Commons), are explored in multiple disciplines and it has been intriguing to explore their relevance within each from history to economics. Arising from the given frameworks of interdisciplinarity, I would say learning more quantitative and qualitative methods of conducting research from the usage of descriptive and inferential statistics whilst taking Biology and ENVS 220, to approaches in interviewing in ENVS 160 and sociology and using VoyantTools to analyse content has showed me the ways in which one can build a coherent discussion based on these methods. The introduction to more theoretical approaches of using the sociological and environmental imaginations has allowed me to see that research can be based on the work of others and further expanded by one’s findings, as also seen when reading various theses. The two classes that have come to influence the direction which I foresee myself taking in writing my capstone are History and Sociology, in which I have read studies and papers that incorporate various qualitative and quantitative methods in executing more theoretical research. I am excited to take more classes and explore new concepts and theories that will aid in my capstone, and guide me to a more focused direction and narrow down my interest to one place.
Having focused on reading Gabriella Henrie’s thesis, I am more motivated to find my situated context and explore it in my own work. I thoroughly enjoyed reading her thesis and how she explored the wider theoretical concepts of ‘sustainability’ and ‘utopianism’ and how they’re relevant to the development of the world’s eco-cities. I would like to use the hourglass approached as effectively as she did, and write in a way that captivates and intrigues the reader from the beginning to the end. One of things I would add, which relates to the other theses I read, is the role of the culture in one’s situated context plays in relation to the realisation of the socially constructed ideas from theory, that have come to manifest themselves in that area. I also noticed that it is important to acknowledge that the context in which one grows up is important in influencing how you perceive the results of your research, and one should also steer away from orientalising other cultures and their traditions. In moving forward, I hope to find my situated context and explore the relevant theories in their entirety and use a range of methods in the analysis and discussion of my concentrated area of interest. I think also using an interdisciplinary framework, as did Henrie, will also be beneficial in constructing a more wholistic picture of my chosen place.
My search in the environmental studies and sciences journal, illustrated just how interdisciplinary the field is. I was able to see that it encompassed a wide range of disciplines, that explored the same issues and problems, from different perspectives and also came together to offer solutions. I was also able to see just how important having this wide range of viewpoints is, in creating richer research and engaging people with different interests in society. The article I liked, and suggested, was very interesting in that, it investigated how the forms of media used by different demographics and generations report on issues related to climate change and global warming. I found it interesting how it took more millennial news sources, such as Buzzfeed, which are often scrutinised and put them against more established and print-based media such as the Mail & Guardian. This showed me that all things are worth researching, and this can be done in very effective ways. The journals I read reiterate the importance of using a wide range of methods to support more theoretical concepts, and that mediums, such as GIS, can be used in more creative ways. The more recent journals also highlight the importance of using the hourglass approach and simple language, to make knowledge accessible and engaging for wider audiences.
The activities we have engaged in thus far, have helped me consolidate my knowledge and skills and also given me the tools to do so in the future. I am confident that they will help me write and conduct all my future projects, as well as I can.