The University of Illinois provides its students with many opportunities. It’s also one of the top research universities in the world.
For the past few weeks, I have been lucky enough to get to work on a research project. This is a very exciting opportunity, especially as a freshman. This research is also exciting because it directly relates to my major.
I’m working with the head of the Ag Comm department to look into how controversial topics in agriculture are currently being covered in the media and how we can improve that communication to help consumer understand the content. The 2 main issues the research focuses on are GMOs and antibiotics in animals.
So far, I have been working on compiling articles about these topics from the top 5 newspapers in circulation in both the United States and Ghana over the past 10 years.
Now in theory, this is not a difficult task. But do you have any idea how difficult it is to find article from newspapers that circulate in Ghana online?!?! Even with our extensive access to databases and archive through the university library, I struggle to find articles from some American newspapers.
This afternoon, I spent about 3 hours working on this project, and low and behold, if you look hard enough for articles from Ghana, you can find them!
As I find these articles, I read the titles and skim the contents. It is amazing to see the many different views and perspectives people have on issues like GMOs and antibiotics. This is a fantastic reminder to me of just how important agricultural communications is. It is our job to inform the public and give them reliable facts and information so they can decide what they want to eat.
This research opportunity has been a great learning experience for me. It has taught me patience, how to use our (sometimes overwhelming) library website, how important agricultural communications is, and that if you are persistent enough, you can eventually find the information you are looking for. This is only the first phase of this research so I can’t wait to see what I will learn as the project continues.
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