It’s incredible to believe we are already at this point of our research. I don’t think anyone who is a part of this program will disagree with me when I say that it’s gone by extremely quickly. As far as the research itself goes, it honestly, hasn’t gone exactly as planned. Just in the past month or so, we were forced to refocus the specific objective of our research and adjust our methods. We are still in the process of gathering data and are forming a tentative theory based upon our findings. However, I remain optimistic because the images, theories, and raw data I’ve been researching get more interesting every day. I’ll spend one day looking at the economics of recycling bottles and cans, and the next day I’ll find fantastic pictures published in the New York Times, or through other means. Like I said, we’re still gathering data and it remains a little scattered, but I am still confident that we will achieve a successful outcome.
The most important challenge I’d say was the one that made us refocus our goals. It took me a little too long to realize how quickly this time was flying. I failed to apply for IRB approval early enough that we would obtain it in time to do something substantial with it. On the brighter side, it’s given me the opportunity to hone my literature review skills, and I was able to discover how to make the most of preexisting information on the gathering of bottles and cans.
Just as an example, let’s reflect on the process of manually recycling bottles and cans. Most places offer 5₵ per bottle or can, which is the standard deposit on each beverage container. It takes 2000 bottles to make 100 dollars. But there’s one place in Brooklyn that offers 6₵ instead. That means it takes between 333 bottles less to reach 100 dollars. But its location might deter people from picking it. Because of this, the communities of people that go to this place are different from those that go to other redemption spots. How exactly to categorize the difference, however, is yet to be determined in the upcoming final stretch of the research: the analysis.