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Young Scientist Challenge Blog 4: Research

While researching certainly isn't the most enjoyable part of doing a project, it is one of the most important requirements for a successful outcome. Even if you are fairly knowledgable about the topic you are working with, solving specific problems you will encounter will be impossible without seeking more information. As I thought more and more about my project, I realized that there were many gaps and question marks within my plan because I didn't know enough information about my topic. Through research, I now feel more confident in what I am doing, and more sure about the direction that I am heading in.

The most difficult part about doing research for this project in particular is the fact that I am trying to figure out how to do some things that have never been done. I am frustrated by the fact that the answers to certain questions I have don't exist in books or online; I need to find them for myself through my own testing. I think that researching for this project has helped me to learn how to better seek information and to come to my own conclusions, as opposed to simply typing a question into google and expecting an automatic answer. I have had to pay more attention to details and to connect the dots for myself. Also, for this specific project it has been essential for me to do extensive research before finalizing any plans to begin my design and construction. I do, however, think that this is a good thing, because it signified that I am broadening my horizons and stretching myself to work with harder concepts.

Working on my research for this project has made me realize that it is mandatory for me to keep things in order. I can see now how actual scientists must be extremely thorough, methodical, and organized, or else some error could occur, compromising their entire project. Trying to mimic this neat, meticulous approach has helped me to take better notes and to keep things in a more orderly manner both on my laptop and in my head. Now, as I am beginning to develop the design of my solution, all of the research that I have done has come into play. Without this acquired knowledge, nothing in the future stages of my project would be possible. Background research is really the basis for all ideas. When you process that newly learned information, originality and creativity come into play, but without the building blocks of research, you could never create anything. Seeing how other people have approached my same problem has given me inspiration and a new perspective on how to attack the issue. Researching has also confirmed that certain aspects of my solution are valid, and it has helped me to realize that other aspects are unworkable and irrational. Overall, doing background research has put things into perspective and helped me to look beyond my own limited mindset and tap into the rest of the world's flow of ideas.

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