Before I came on this trip, I never considered myself someone who enjoyed doing research. However, I knew that as part of my undergraduate studies, I would need to conduct research through a senior thesis. A big part of the reason I came on this trip was to introduce myself to field research for the first time. One of my favorite research opportunities I received during my time here was when I got to do a content analysis of old periodicals at the Hemeroteca in the Office of the Vice President. In addition to feeling that this was a prestigious and unique opportunity, this opened my mind up to the sense of accomplishment that comes from research. Looking through thousands of files in multiple rooms to find exactly what I was looking for and actually succeeding was extremely fulfilling for me.
I also really loved the freedom we have been given with our entire research topic proposal. The only other research I’ve done before going on this trip was when I was assigned a given topic and was only able to collect information on it from books or websites. Collecting data from primary sources that gave me specific cases that demonstrated a topic, rather than just researching the topic on its own, was exciting for me. I have been researching discrepancies in crime rates across different parts of Bolivia, and I found really useful accounts of a jewelry robbery from a religious statue in Copacabana in the 1980’s. While not contemporary, I gained perspective on how different newspapers reported and prioritized stories differently, allowing me to get an idea of the newspapers’ biases.