Tips for Using a Topic For a Su Paper Pumpkin SeminarA year ago, one of my professors gave a great seminar on any topic for a paper pumpkin. A first year graduate student from West Virginia University in the Department of Environmental Health was able to use this topic to her advantage in her final project. Her thesis advisor noted that in order to do well in the capstone seminar of the day, she would need to apply a particular method of research that was described in her book.
What did I use? It was my Socratic Method. The Socratic Method is a very effective research method. It has been used extensively for over a thousand years, by just about all the great philosophers and those students who have chosen to use it. But that does not mean it is easy.
The key to using the Socratic Method is that it forces you to be very comfortable asking the right questions and really listening to what the subject is asking of you. If you are uncomfortable, the data collected will be a little shoddy, but this does not matter much since a good data collection plan is exactly what you need to get the project done.
What was the subject of the seminar called the Socratic Method? And that is why I love the word Socratic. This was a method of approaching questions that required a deep understanding of the subject at hand.
Now, for those of you who will ask, why would I want to be right? The answer is simple: when you are wrong, the model of your mind will not allow you to admit it. As a young graduate student, I was in a class with a professor who hated making mistakes. He would rather work with a dead-end problem than with an honest mistake.
After years of attending to conferences, I decided to apply this method to a paper pumpkin. The first step was to get the project agenda. Then I had to plan out the format of the seminar, and finally I had to figure out the best time to deliver my presentation.
Once I found the right venue, I hired a video camera to capture the seminar. The idea was to get footage of me answering questions, of me talking, and so on. Now that the video is online, I hope that you will find it useful.