Research Process and Findings on Locating Sources

What sources did you find?   

I found sources about the causes of homelessness, racial disparities, housing policy, and redlining practices.

What did you learn from reading these sources?

I have learned that many factors can lead to homelessness, such as, social inequities in salary/wealth distribution, education, lack of opportunities, and resource access. How government redlining of specific geographic areas, a practiced geared at devaluing specific neighborhoods that is racially motivated has influenced this condition.  The housing practices used to promote redlining, through mortgage loan lending, further perpetuate and disadvantage minority communities.  Lastly, evidence shows that access to adequate resources and opportunities is disproportionately geared to benefiting white communities.

After reading those sources what direction might you take your final project?

After reading the sources, I will continue this path of discovery because I think there is a strong correlation between homelessness and socially constructed policies and practices aimed to disenfranchise African Americans.

What did you learn about finding primary and secondary sources online?

During my research, I learned that establishing its credibility and reliability of information across search platforms, can be a daunting task.  While, the internet is a great tool for finding information determining  information credibility and reliability can be challenging.  In contrast, Journal articles are easier to determine credibility.  An article published in a journal implies that the article has been vetted by experts in the field, and went through a peer review process. 

What do you know now about your topic that you did not know previously?

In an article by Gabrielle S. Jackson, entitled, “The Legacy of the Federal Housing Administration”, dated 12/16/2020, accessed on 3/6/2021, I learned that the historical experiences implemented to disadvantage African Americans can influence the policy and practices of housing for generations come.

I now know the lack of economic mobility and opportunity access in African American communities can lend to negative life outcomes in those communities, which can increase chances of homelessness.

What new and remaining questions do you have?

I still need to know more about how these factors contribute to the overwhelming incidences of homelessness in African American communities, and how policy changes in housing and other resource access areas can reduce homelessness in those communities.

In retrospect, how might you approach this task differently?

In retrospect, I could have looked only at the factors contributing to homelessness in African American communities, instead of exploring policies and mortgage lending practices that lend to their homelessness condition.

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Describe your past or current research process.

What does your typical working process look like?

First, I identify the topic I want to know more about. Then, search for background information about the topic, through internet searches, library databases, google scholar, online books, and peer reviewed articles. Next, a careful review of the information is done to determine its relevancy to the topic, or if the information leads to other sources that may be useful.  The last step is to evaluate the sources, for credibility, and cite used sources in the reference section.

What platforms or systems do you use to organize your research and writing?

Generally, I use Microsoft  Office tools to develop notes, brainstorm, and organize my thoughts, and finalize the paper.  In addition, relevant sources are downloaded from an internet search engine to review.  During the review, notes are taken to capture any information that may be useful to the research. Adobe Acrobat is used to review the downloaded PDF documents.  To create citations, I use citation machine which offers a variety of format options for references.

Are there aspects of your personal process you want to change or improve?

Change is always welcomed.  Whether it is new technology, or new reference material.  I am open to new ideas.   If there are alternative ways of gathering information that work for me, I will definitely alter my current process and try the new ones to improve the final paper.

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Free Writing

I reviewed  “The Lost Museum”, Barnum’s American Museum which tells the story of a massive fire that destroyed  this museum in New York City in July of 1865.  I found this site very interesting because I had heard about the Barnum & Bailey Circus.  I like that the website opens to a video which gives you background about his museum and the fire that destroyed it. The tone of the narrative gives life and emphasis on the museum’s history, and the tragic event.   The use of music adds to the effects and anticipation of the pandemonium that ensues as the fire rages out of control.


The content of information provided was taken from a historic point of view, to help you understand the social and cultural aspects of the people during that time period.  The narrator appears to be recounting the story of  the events that happened during the time period of the fire, through a variety of graphic depictions.  The use pictures help the reader understand and visualize the devastation caused by the fire.

The website is well organized, and provides tabs for easy access to layers of additional information about the museum exhibits, its collaborators, sponsors and who to contact for more information. The information flows well making it easy to learn about the time period and this specific event.  The website is easy to find through a google search, and can be accessed from computer technology, or mobile devices. The use of  a voice narration and captions to also make the information more accessible.

  The audience appears to be students, as it has a classroom tab that provides reference information about the time period, the event, and location.  This information addresses the needs of the audience by providing a lens of the characters, what was happening  in their society during that time period, some background information about the museum, and essays on the social environment at that time.  

The website makes great use of a 3-dimensional animation for the exhibit of the museum, which provides a visual account of the actual items in the museum at the time, along with an interactive activity.  I find this feature very appealing and clever. 

The eclectic group of creators all participated in varying levels of collaborative effort.  These included universities: American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning, The Graduate Center, City University of New York in collaboration with Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media George Mason University, animators, programmers, writers, researchers, advisors, archivist, music coordinators, sound effect and voice over technicians.

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Why did the boycott of Montgomery’s buses succeed?

The boycott was a success because the African Americans community stuck together for the cause, and made a commitment to “protest until the grievances were granted”.  They were fed up with the discriminatory practices, constant public humiliation, and the unfair treatment they had experienced for years.  Rosa Parks was a “symbol for movement” that gave momentum to movement. Petitions from respected members in the community, such as JoAnn Robinson, were meant to garner support for the African Americans condition.  A leaflet of information about the boycott was circulated to get the word out, and to rally African  Americans. Media coverage about the boycott went nationally.  Regular meetings by Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) were held with church and community leaders to reaffirmed the commitment to a non-violent approach.  The preachers would use their influences to help encourage the African American community, as well.  A well-organized campaign through protest of  public buses that threatened the economic mobility of the community.  Since the African Americans didn’t have transportation they did not frequent town as often which hurt local businesses.  The African Americans  organized car pooled, hitch-hiked, walked, or were transported by white housewives to work.  Finally, in December 1956, the US Supreme Court ruled bus segregation was unconstitutional.

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How do you define History?

I define history as a review and evaluation of stories, artifacts, people, and events that have happened in the past that influence current values, and spark interest or require clarification, or discussion based on current knowledge.

I am interested in learning more about “The African slave who taught America how to vaccinate itself from smallpox”, and “What Was the Zanj Rebellion?”.

The African slave who taught America how to vaccinate itself from smallpox

African American history and plight is very important to me. Culturally, it helps to inform the values, rituals, and beliefs black people exhibit today. I would like to explore more about how slave efforts and ingenuity that helped inform those societies. Specifically, I am interested in whether or not their contributions were welcomed or implemented into mainstream practices.

What Was the Zanj Rebellion?

I am interested in this slave rebellion because I was not aware of it.  My extent of slavery stems from the Western colonial perspective.  I am curious to know if there were any “ring leaders” named in the revolts, and how the revolt was resolved.

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This journey will be amazing!

I am learning how to create a domain and manage a website. Exciting!!! Yes, I can do this!

Getting to Know Me
My name is Joanne Carter.  I am an adult learner, working full-time, and attending classes part-time.  I am studying Nonprofit Communications, which is a developed concentration for a Bachelor of Individualized Studies degree. I enjoy helping people, and know that nonprofits were established for this purpose. Before this class, my online presence included LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  I am hoping to gain adequate knowledge and skills from this class to understand how to manage an online domain.  I also have familiarity with digital technology, such as laptops, IPhones, and other online platforms.   

When I googled myself, the search returned several people with names like mine,  my Facebook and Linkedin profiles, along with images of me from George Mason activities I’ve participated in on campus.  Microsoft Edge, Bing search, returned several people with names like mine, my Facebook profile.  The google search appears to be much more comprehensive in nature. 

The reading reiterates the importance of being cognizant of what information is shared online and how you interact with others.  Not only are your friends viewing your social media, potential employers, colleagues, and professors may have access as well.  I try to be cognizant of  the content and attitude expressed when using  online platforms. 

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