Thursday, February 01, 2007

Research with a Partner

Here’s an idea when you’re doing research on places or settings. Take someone with you.

Sure, they can help with navigation and taking notes on scenery as you drive … but just as importantly, they give you a second view point.

A second set of eyes, ears, nose, and taste buds can notice things you miss. That extra person also sees the same exact thing you do, but from a different perspective. Today I went with two friends to the Blanton Museum. We wandered the second floor through room after room, from ancient Greece to modern art. We like different kinds of art; we each saw things the others didn’t see – and pointed out stuff to each other.

Have you ever gone out to eat with someone and realized you had different reactions to the same dish? A chili you thought was delicious, the other couldn’t eat because it was too spicy for them? Yet you can hardly believe anyone would have thought it hot. Someone loves the spice curry, while you hate it. I love chai lattes, especially when it has a peppery taste to it. Not everyone does, though.

Sometimes if you only rely on yourself and your senses when you explore places, restaurants, clubs, parks, museums, you miss what others see and feel. You miss how other characters might react to something. That’s because it’s not easy to think outside of your own experiences and influences.

So, if possible, when researching, take someone with you. Listen to their reactions; see things through their eyes.

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