By Laura Thomas
What have I been doing this semester? Research and writing and a lot of it. Much more than I was anticipating or wanting to do. I'm constantly writing parts of my thesis, multiple papers for my Project Leadership course, panel information for our architectural Systems course, blogs every two weeks as part of my graduate assistantship, research documentation for my research assistantship with Shannon McDonald. I'm always writing and I'm tired of it.
Unfortunately for me, I'm not the best writer. I have a hard time coming up with what to discuss, how to argue it and how to stretch it out so that it fills up the proper amount of pages. It also takes me a while because I'm not the fastest reader and English was never my strong subject. I'm a very simple, straight forward, get to the point, person. Here it is, it sucks because of this, it can be fixed by doing that - great, let's move on. That is not acceptable though. It must have precedence, it must be substantiated by what is already out there, proven through multiple examples that something does or does not work. This provides insight, educated design that leads to a solution that improves upon the negative, pushes the boundaries of the existing and is the direction of the future. That is what our thesis is trying to accomplish, raising the bar.
For my thesis I have chosen to propose a solution to provide better hospice care than what the other options can currently provide. I selected this topic as it has great personal meaning to me so I enjoy the time I spend working on it. I have collected resources through Morris Library and their I-share program and now have several books at my disposal. I find that my resources are somewhat limited though as Hospice is a relatively newer topic of discussion having become more popular in recent years. I'm finding little precedent studies and where mentioned in a peer reviewed architectural magazine or journals it usually only mentions it's construction method or awards won for sustainability. Nothing that discusses the design and what works, doesn't work so I must continue researching.
For those undergraduates who will continue into the Master's Program I have a few suggestions. Start thinking about your thesis now. Discuss with your instructors different topics that you are interested in. Schools, hospitals, arenas, skyscrapers, residential, commercial - pick a topic and start. Begin gathering information, read it and start some documentation. Don't become overwhelmed with books of research that leave you wondering where to begin. Now that another blog is done, I'm going to continue writing another paper for another class.