Students 'delve deeper' into research

25 June 2014 - 11:30am

When she saw gaps in research on the benefits and drawbacks of hotel managers responding to online reviews, hotel administration student Carly Andrews ’17 wanted to employ a better research model.

Some studies showed it was more harmful to respond – “it causes unrealistic expectations,” she said, even though “managers view it as the best way to get in touch with customers.”

Another survey of customer reviews used a limited sample of middle-aged women on Facebook. Andrews had no problems with the survey itself, but said, “I want to apply that to a specific hotel, and study a diverse sample of users … and do a better survey with different age groups [including] college students.”

She intends to use her Hunter R. Rawlings III Cornell Presidential Research Scholarship to continue the work through a hotel internship next spring, and publish the results before she graduates.

Andrews is one of 14 undergraduates who developed independent research projects this semester with tools gained in the Writing 2100 course Delve Deeper: Research Methods in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

The students gave their final presentations at a research forum May 13 in Kroch Library on such topics as immigration reform and labor in New York’s dairy industry, the Asian American “model minority” stereotype among Cornell students, and a study of women readers and literature from Dante to “chick lit.”

“You can tell they are passionate about their topics,” said co-instructor Kaila Bussert of Olin Library’s Research and Learning Services. “We saw them get a sense of the research process. We wanted them to open their minds to all kinds of research possibilities – in their travels, in their internships, in their courses.”

Taught in partnership with faculty members, research librarians, archivists and curators as mentors, the course places “a real focus on research in the humanities and social sciences, rather than specifically in the sciences,” said co-instructor Susette Newberry, assistant director of Research and Learning Services.