Sometimes the hardest thing about writing is knowing where to begin. For me, the best way to begin a research project is with a question. Some of the questions I asked before starting my different research reports were: what is the political impact of gardening?, what is the relationship between BCCG and farmers markets?, and what is involved in starting a community garden? These questions do not have a yes or no answer. They require in-depth research because in most cases one question turns out to have several different sub-questions that also need to be considered.
After I establish a question I begin the researching process. It is important to be sure that the information comes from a credible source. However, that does not mean that some of the best information cannot be found in an obvious location. For example, I wrote a research report as well as a newsletter article about preserving produce through the process of canning. I had a section talking about the dangers of botulism of which my evidence came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. This is a credible source and provided me with the data and information I needed to bring a word of caution to the gardeners, but another point of the research and article was to discuss the costs of canning. This information I took from the Fleet Farm website. This is not necessarily the first place thought to find credible information for academic research, but in this case it was the most logical and effective place to look.
It is also important to utilize research done by peers. This course was run like a collaborative and as a class we produced a set of researched information that acted as a directory and compilation of relevant information. This became especially useful when each of us began researching, drafting, and creating our independent projects. The interview reports provided an abundance of evidence and support for research because the quotes came directly from gardeners who were the targeted audience in several cases. Collaborating with one another saves time and provides different avenues to use in both research and the production of a document.
The independent project I developed went through many steps before arriving at the finished project of the two to three minute video script entitled, “How to Start a Community Garden”. The first step required questioning, Who was the intended audience? What network would it be aired on? When? Who would see it? And most importantly, How does someone start a community garden with BCCG? Next was creating the Project Proposal and the researching stage. I answered these questions and more and set to research about the NEWEYE Initiative and BCCG to get information about the network. I also spent a great deal of time on the BCCG website working out the details about what is involved with starting a community garden. I quickly found that there was so much more information than I could include in just three minutes. I needed to determine what information was essential to relay to the people interested in starting a community garden. After a research report, a newsletter article, and several drafts I finally produced the final project: How to Start a Community Garden 2-3min Script which can now be used by BCCG.
The best way to polish any type of written work is revision. This course took advantage of the peer review process which allowed several sets of eyes to look over the work to create the most polished draft possible in a rather short amount of time. It is important to remember that criticism and revision does not mean that the original document was not useful, but rather it was useful enough to make better through the revision process. It may seem daunting to get a document back full of corrections and comments, but that means that the end result will be even better. I have never appreciated peer review as much as I have in this course. Together my classmates and I grew to be better professional writers and worked together to create a plethora of well-constructed documents to be used by Brown County Community Gardens.