Daric worked on a project
extracting campaign contribution data from the Federal Election
Commission. He used the data to construct a database of
political donations for a set of corporate executives to see if
interlocking directorates were associated with campaign
How did you get involved in research?
I became involved in the project when I was approached by Dr. Barnes. I had been
in several of his classes, was interested in picking experience helping in
research and was interested in the topic.
How has participating in research impacted your education?
Thanks to my involvement in the project, I have learned a fair amount about
social network research, been able to use social networking software and in
general advanced my understanding of sociology. It has also allowed me to learn
more about the research process, become directly involved in developing that
process and understand how research develops over time.
What has been the most satisfying aspect of your research experience?
Amongst the most rewarding experiences in working on this project, I would say
that seeing and then presenting the results from our first sample at 2009's
Meeting of the Minds is at the top of my list. Once the first set had been
completed, I was able to really wrap my head around the basic ideas we were
approaching, getting a better grasp on what it was exactly we were doing. Being
able to present those ideas in a rather concise format to other people was
rewarding in that I felt that our work was informative and interesting, I
enjoyed sharing it.
What are your future plans? How has participating in research helped you in
preparing for those future plans?
My future plans are to go off to graduate school, earn my PhD in sociology and
hopefully conduct my own research. The experience I have had with Dr. Barnes
through UROP has given me useful skills which mark me as a stronger candidate in
graduate applications and has served to reinforce my own interests in research.
What advice would you give to students interested
in being involved in research?
As for other students who are interested in being involved in research - ask
around, see what professors are doing. Find something that seems genuinely
interesting to you, as you will likely be asked for a pretty sincere commitment.
It is not always a fun experience - the work can sometimes be tedious or dull -
but it is ultimately rewarding and generally interesting. Getting involved in
research makes your CV shinier in graduate applications and getting to work with
a professor directly on something helps you develop a professional understanding
of a topic you may wish to pursue in the future.