For me, the initial attraction to Age of Ex was the prospective of being able to learn about a time period through a topic of my choosing. The self-paced, self-structured, free learning experience appealed to me on many different levels. As we progressed into the year, I was overjoyed when we started the first research project. Throughout my academic career, my favorite part of any class was always research. I chose a topic that interested me, the Spanish Inquisition, and set about my research. My goal was to learn as much as possible in order to be able to relay this information in a thorough, cohesive paper as well as a detailed presentation. At first, I thought that this was a good tactic to utilize during the research process, but as the I continued to travel through the project I discovered different methods of learning about my topic.
“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” Albert Einstein
As I stated above, my initial approach was to learn as much as I could about the Spanish Inquisition. I soon discovered that there were many different bits and pieces that were necessary to not only understand the Spanish Inquisition, but to relay the information coherently. At first, I started reading the a very long, detailed Wikipedia page in order to gain a basic understanding of my topic. From there, databases and encyclopedias were utilized for basic information on certain key figures of the Spanish Inquisition. I found the basic information that was provided in encyclopedias, and by websites such as Wikipedia helpful in understand the nuts and bolts of the Spanish Inquisition. What I hadn’t anticipated was the number of questions I would have after reading the basic information. In order to answer these questions I turned to books at my local library to find the more specific details. In reading, the different groups that were involved in the inquisition began to whirl around my head. In order to get these straightened out, I looked at a map to gain a certain amount of perspective. Overall, I enjoyed this research project a great deal. The freedom of the first project really enabled me to discover a process that would work for me. As I continue into your next project, The Reformation, I hope that the lessons I learned while studying the Spanish Inquisition hold true.