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Social Ecology 195W - Field Study Writing Seminar (Kumar Section) - Spring 2022: Hints for Assignments

Preparing for an Interview

When preparing to interview your supervisor or another contact at your field placement or someone associated with the subject area, you should consider doing some homework to familiarize yourself with the following issues and come with questions such as any of the following:

  1. what kind of organization is this?
  2. what is the primary role? 
  3. who does it serve?  has that changed over time?
  4. the history - how long has it been operational?  What else is it related to?  Are there competing organizations?
  5. how is it funded?
  6. what is the leadership and structure?
  7. does it report to a Board of oversight?
  8. number of employees?
  9. is there a strategic plan or mission statement?
  10. does organization have a web presence?
  11. immediate supervisor - has been there how long and in what capacity?  background for the position?
  12. what training is required to support this role
  13. what information or sources do they rely upon for staying informed or current on the subject - what do they read, what conferences do they attend, what affiliations do they maintain, etc

You may want to find a way to either record the interview after asking about whether that can be done so it is able to easily be transcribed?

Find some books in UC Library Search-Library Collection about interviewing skills and processes if this is a new activity for you or if you need to become more familiar with ethnographic research.


General Hints

There are many things that you can do that will reduce the stress in conducting this assignment and writing a major paper.  Follow these hints and you will save time, be better organized and able to meet deadlines.

  1. Read assignments carefully as explained in the course syllabus
  2. Use the Subject Guides for Social Ecology for specific resources (specific guide corresponds to each department and also some general ones for related disciplines and product lines such as Government Information, Orange County, California documents
  3. Review the paper outline structure and think seriously about the "Social Ecological Aspects" for each of the assignments by reflecting on SE 10 and SE 194 cultural contexts
  4. Consider using a bibliographic management software so that you can easily format your references according to APA Style. 
  5. Write from an outline
  6. Consider context of what is Social Ecology - this is a capstone like experience - relate to social ecology constructs
  7. Define your research question or hypothesis
  8. Conduct literature review in appropriate databases - use the Subject Guides for Social Ecology and the tab on this Course Page marked "Conducting Research" - if you need 10 or 20 references, consider finding double that number in the literature review and then focusing on the most relevant ones
  9. In your section covering the conclusion and recommendations, emphasize the relevance to your field study placement and how it can benefit from your findings and learning
  10. Proofread your paper carefully
  11. You will likely want to use this final paper as part of your portfolio if and when you apply for future internships, professional positions, graduate or professional school since it will bring together your ability to demonstrate that you can handle abstract issues, conduct bibliographic research, synthesize information, treat empirical data and make meaningful conclusions and recommendations or refute with confidence the hypothesis
  12. Consider what part of your content will contribute to the presentation and whether you need some images

Hints for Specific Assignments

Several themes emerge -

  • you can focus on the population you are serving - young toddlers, adolescents, etc - use special features of the databases to create higher relevance to a certain population;
  • geography or spatial location - designate common elements
  • seek out competitive intelligence - what else in the community is like this setting in which you currently work
  • compare public sector with private sector services
  • if you are making a presentation, you may want to rehearse the delivery in the Presentation Studio


Hints for Individual Projects & Field Study Paper

Each student had a different field placement and also a different topic for his or her paper.  For each paper, you will want to identify the problem that you are addressing in the field placement and describe the backgound of the assignment, its relationship to the problem you are studying.  For each of the of the following topics, there are some leads about where to search for information.  .  If the database listed is not on the list of databases on the tab, Conducting Research look it up via A-Z Databases or UC Library Search.

Important part is to contextualize within the Social Ecology context - psychological/behavioral, environmental, legal/crim framework  - select two concepts and methods

  • consider populations served - or focus on specific environmental aspects
  • consider holistic definition of social ecology
  • reflect on SE 10 - for values of measurement, SE 194 for values of observation
  • anticipate impact on public-at-large & public policy
  • consider how issues play out in the news & media and are shared via social media

Please use the Social Ecology Subject Guides for additional sources; consult Library Search by title to obtain links for all sources noted below:  Also please contact me for additional assistance.

Incorporate information gained in the interview with supervisor

This term's field studies placements and sources to consult:(organized by subject):- to be added after April 11 class meeting:

1.  Crime prevention & how community outreach programs, especially those by law enforcement, can reduce crime.  Search Academic Search, Legal Trac, Criminal Justice Fulltext together with a search strategy such as crime prevention AND community (outreach OR engagement) AND (law enforcement or police or cops or officers); books I found in UC Library Search include Smarter Crime Control: A Guide to a Safer Future for Citizens, Communities and Politicians (2014) Available Langson Library HV7431 .W3265 2014;  May want to specify the kind of crimes to focus a bit more.

2.  Communication among individuals who can not speak to one another due to different languages or aphasia.  What are the mechanisms for bonding, communication & friendship with these challenges or obstacles? The following databases may be helpful:  Academic Search Complete and Communication Abstracts  and CINAHL, the nursing literature (which can be searched together) with a search strategy of (communication strategies, methods or techniques) AND (aphasia or aphasic or people with aphasia) - another search string could be (communication strategies or methods or techniques) AND (multilingualism OR different languages) and (bonding or attachment or friendship OR relationship or interaction) AND population you are studying - adults - Also conduct searches in Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts, Web of Science, Scopus,

3.   Effects of karate in an occupational therapy setting - can it enhance cognitive, motor & social skills in children with autism - what extent can occupational therapy based martial arts programs contribute as alternative interventions for ASD children - search PsycINFO, Academic Search Complete, Scopus - for (autistic or autism) AND (karate OR martial arts) - once I entered other therapeutic interventions it did not work out.

4.  Difficulties that international students face after graduation - depends on what kind of difficulties - for finding jobs, immigration status, displacement from family & friends, other reasons.  If you can be more specific, I can perhaps highlight more specific response.  Recommend beginning to search Academic Search Complete and Business Source Complete.

5. Mediation vs litigation - reliance on the litigation process over mediation and other alternative dispute resolution processes - if you can be more specific about what kind of cases you are interested in - family law, criminal, civil, etc I can direct you to those databases - you may want to begin with the databases listed on the CLS Subject Guide.

6.  Play-based learning and how the pandemic has affected children's early development due to isolation and social distancing.  Children born during pandemic may have very restricted contact with people other than immediate family members, so contact with others may be difficult to initiate - restricting the search to play based learning or play-based learning or learning through play may limit the outcomes by a lot - suggested databases are Academic Search Complete, ERIC, Education Source which can all be searched together; and PsycINFO and Sociological Abstracts, Web of Science. - I retrieved one article (2021) that has a long list of references that may get you started - see Courtney Beers Dewhirst, Casey Cascio & Erin M. Casey (2021) Young children’s play during a time of social distancing, Early Child Development and Care, DOI: 10.1080/03004430.2021.1990907

7.  Effect of extra curricular leadership programs on educaiton/health outcomes for kids in K-6 - Academic Search Complete, ERIC and Education Source can be searched at the same time - majority of output comes from ERIC - try a strategy such as this: (extracurricular activities OR leadership programs) AND (educational outcomes or educational achievement or academic achievement OR health outcomes) AND (elementary school students) AND (impact or effect or influence or outcome or result or consequence) - restrict to those that are peer reviewed

8.  Mental health in LGBTQ+ youth.  Learning if mental illness is more prominent in the queer community. - Academic Search Complete, LGBTQ+ Life - these two databases can be searched together with a search strategy of (lgbtq or lesbian or gay or homosexual or bisexual or transgender or homosexual or queer or sexual minority) AND (youth or adolescents or young people or teen or young adults) AND (mental illness or mental disorder or psychiatric illness) AND (prevalence or incidence or statistics); Also PsycINFO using thesaurus terms and population specifics for youth or adolescence - restrict to journal articles; Web of Science; Scopus; to find videos, books & book chapters use UC Library Search and this search strategy will retrieve books & videos like Headcase: LGBTQ Writers and Artists on Mental Health and Wellness (2019), The Modern Clinician's Guide to Working with LGBTQ+ Clients: The Inclusive Psychotherapist (2019) and many others.

Class Presentation

Preparing for the class presentation can be achieved by following an outline:

  1. Introduction to Placement
  2. Relating to Social Ecology context - consider SE 10, SE 194 and specific coursework already taken on the topic of your work
  3. Relationship to literature
  4. Conclusions - lessons learned, impact you have had, future directions
  5. Consider using the Presentation Studio at the ASL MRC to rehearse presentation - use resources on Presentation tab

Liaison Librarian

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Julia Gelfand
Office: Science Library 228

Phone: 949-824-4971


Questions that focus on specific research issues

(From course syllabus)

What are the types of problems that your organization has addressed?
• What was the approach to problem-solving?
• What are some of the other ways to address the same problem?
• Are there other organizations that address similar problems? How do they do it?
• Who is affected by the activities of your organization?
• Who should be affected by the activities of your organization?
• What are the most important problems/issues that your organization has faced in addressing the problems of the community?
• What are 2-3 important research questions that you would like me to examine? I would like to do a literature review focusing on one of these questions.