This week our facilitators asked us to write about some of the challenges we’ve faced through the first 5 weeks of the DSSRF program. I will focus specifically on the struggles encountered in the fifth week. That is not to say I didn’t have issues through the first four weeks, but this week has been particularly challenging, and the issues arising this week are still being dealt with.
The largest concern this week involved the model I have created. The model, though fairly accurate in my trials, seems to be accurate by luck. An advisor to the project has informed me that he can identify at least two crucial facets of the sports that are left out of my model. In other words, my model doesn’t account for certain teams’ strengths and weaknesses, and thus will prove to be not accurate when using past or future data. Though serious, I’m optimistic that this issue will be resolved. I have worked to incorporate the missing portions of the game of hockey into my model by adding to my data. This has forced me to return to the very primitive steps of the project: testing relationships between individual metrics and team success. As tedious as this may be, the process is crucial in establishing a sound model. Simply creating a model based on observed causes of team success is insufficient to say the least. This process has slightly derailed the week’s already busy schedule, but by the end of the upcoming holiday weekend, I fully expect to be back on track.
A large portion of the time spent as a group this week was dedicated to learning Scalar, a site creation tool tailored to the needs of Digital Scholarship projects. Scalar allows me, the creator, great freedom in design, while consistently producing a high quality site. The Scalar projects we observed last week at the DSSF Meet-Up at Bryn Mawr were professional in appearance, and rich with information. This week, I struggled to find this balance. “Not too wordy.” I told myself. Yet I felt I needed the entirety of 4 pages to contains the methodology of my project alone. The help of others was desperately needed, but it took me hours of struggle to realize this. The keen eyes of my peers were the keys I needed. No matter how many times I reread my work, I didn’t catch the numerous repeats of information, and the poorly worded explanations scattered throughout the text. After being identified by my peers, these flaws were corrected, and my methodology was condensed to a mere one and a half pages. Though I anticipated a struggle to mold Scalar to the form I wanted, the hardest challenge was keying in on the material to include on the Scalar page.
As in any project, I’ve faced challenges throughout the process. This was expected. The solutions however, have not been. Each has involved the minds of others: peers, facilitators, advisors, and even family members. This week was another stark reminder that although I tell people I’m conducting independent research this summer, the final project will be credited to many people beyond myself.