Monday, November 21, 2005

Research Family Tree

Today was a great day in Columbus. My master's adviser from K-State, Bob Meeds, was in town. This was only the second time that I have seen Bob since leaving Manhattan, Kan., in July 2001. We spent the middle of the day working on a revision of a book chapter slated for publication in 2006. The book is on psycholinguistics and advertising, and we are writing about sentence importance ratings as both theoretically interesting and a valuable copy-testing tool.

It was gratifying to make progress on the paper, but it was also a kick to spend some time with the person most responsible for my research career. I often wonder how to make graduate study in communications more effective. Most undergraduate programs tightly focus themselves around the industry, and not only do they not teach research, they often bad mouth it. This means that the first semester (or quarter) of a master's program scarcely resembles anything the students have seen before. Many students report questioning the decision to go to graduate school.

This largely defines my experience. I was launched into a foreign world of theory and methods, and the system demanded that I find an interest quickly. Many of us struggle. Luckily, I met Bob at a graduate student mixer, and he quickly brought me into the fold of cognitive research. I've never looked back.

In addition to teaching me how to be a graduate student and a researcher, Bob also taught me an effective way to teach graduate students. This was effective with my colleagues at Indiana, and it is working at Ohio State. I met Bob over a cup of coffee on Moro Street in Manhattan. I suppose it is only fitting that I found myself talking research with a promising graduate student less than two hours after Bob left for the airport. Thanks for teaching me to pay forward, Bob.


Anonymous satoko said...

Yes, I learned a lot from you here in Bloomington and really appreciate it, Sam.

Happy thanksgiving!

1:23 PM  

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