I can pick anything?

So, I’m faced with a research project this semester where the topic is wide-open for me to choose from, not even a course theme. The idea is actually to track the research process following a research model (like I-Search, Pathways to Knowledge, Big6, Handy 5, etc.) To do so, then, I can pick ANYTHING I want to learn about. Quite the tall order.

I’m kind of torn about doing something that would benefit me professionally and something that just feeds my curiosity. Both are valid endeavors. If any of my old readers still are watching after my long silence, I’d love your thoughts on research development potential/narrowing. Here are my ideas:

Building libraries in the developing world
I am really interested on how these projects come to life and the impact they make. An extension would be to investigate the follow-up on these projects, like they do with reality shows sometimes to see it really has made a difference. I would love to connect with Librarians Without Borders (and/or start a UW-Madison chapter) and go on a service trip. Also, I’ve seen things on Amazon over the years about donating Kindles to places where there are no books. At Ikea, there’s a solar powered reading light they donate for every one they sell. Do those work?

Collection development for Heritage Spanish speakers, especially young adults
This is a topic I’m interested in because it would serve a dual-purpose of library-based research and something applicable to my job. I’m not sure how research worthy it would be, because it’s something I’ve struggled with for awhile and don’t feel like I have leads.

Competency-based education and badges
When I first learned about this topic (summer 2012), it absolutely blew my mind and made me think that American education has got it wrong, with the Common Core, high-stakes assessment and teacher accountability. To me, this could a viable solution for education reform. I’d like to see how it’s progressing. There is some potential for action research with this for me, because I have an badge program set up for my students.

Jesuit education and outreach
These last two are little bit more of personal interests. I was completely inspired by the Jesuit approach to education while an undergrad at Marquette, and even more so as I learned a little about Ignatian spirituality. Historically, the Jesuits made some waves and had a widespread reach. I have a feeling that there is more than meets the eye even today.

Training of service dogs
I read Luis Carlos Montalván’s book, Until Tuesday, about his experience as a veteran with a service dog. I also could watch this webcam for hours. Working dogs in action are just so fascinating to me. I love it when they bring in the drug dogs to sniff lockers. When I see a service dog, I always want to pet them because they are so well-behaved (but you can’t because they have a sign that says “Don’t!”)