Over the past 6 weeks I have been able to gain a large start on my project. Coming into the summer I was sure of one thing: My project would have something to do with the connection between communications and nonprofits in the field of global health.
I’ve spent the summer so far researching sustainability, how nonprofits in this field typically work and the research questions I would like to pose. It has been an interested summer figuring out each of those, but I didn’t realize how many times I would change my mind about the direction of my project and the questions I wanted to ask. So far this summer, I have interviewed well-educated professors who have studied education and cultural anthropology, information systems, and nonprofit communications. Through these interviews while also conducting independent research and connecting with international nonprofits, I have been able to realize the direction I want to take beginning this fall semester.
I will look at the connection between communications and nonprofits by asking:
- What means and methods of communications do nonprofits use to educate the public about sustainability (or how they at least define it) by analyzing the layout and rhetoric of their websites? I will explore their use of logos, pathos, and ethos as well.
- What is the connection between communication methods/strategies and financial gains? How have they developed over time? Audience analysis and social media will also be assessed.
- What communication networks are involved in the sustainability of global health projects? This will explore intercultural communications and communications between nonprofits that work together on global health projects.
- Understanding communications resilience when nonprofits lose funding.
Of course these questions might change later on, but they’re the questions I currently want to answer with my thesis.
While trying to compose these questions, I not only learned so much about the preliminary process of research, but I also learned so much about myself. My ideas, methods, and direction of my project changed to the point where they looked nothing like I originally planned them to be. I also learned that I love to work on my own research topic. I can answer questions I have about the world and my interests instead of questions others want me to answer. This freedom of my intellectual curiosity makes me more passionate about the research I am doing. I can only hope that I have the opportunity to do something like this in the future.