From self-running airplanes and cars, to robots performing operations, analyzing our every move to learn and improve, life is closer to a science fiction movie than anyone could ever imagine. Such innovation not only inspires initiative, but also spearheads research and analysis in the world of information and technology.

Such study is central to the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, contributing to the research aspect of the college. Our professors and students analyze the whys and the woes of technology further to their respective pursuit of education. Being part of research at the iSchool is a sure way of exploring the world of technology and witnessing the world transform through data and charts.

The BITS Lab and Netlytics

I have been a part of information technology industry for over five years and it is only now that I have paused to speculate the effect of technology on society, as well as its effect on the behavior of people in general. How do people tag themselves on Instagram? Does technology help someone with depression, or does it make it worse? Is farming the next thing after the organic revolution?

Questions like these have kept me ticking since the summer, when I joined the BITS lab. The BITS lab, moderated by iSchool Professors Jeff Hemsley, Jennifer Stromer-Galley, and Bryan Semaan, deals with collecting information on how behavior shows change through technology in society. One of the projects that I have the privilege of being involved with studies how technology affects veterans who transition back to civilian life. The lab members, in collaboration with veterans themselves, aim to come up with a wearable device which would aid the transition process.

My second association with research started with this fall semester, under Professor Ingrid Erickson who is currently interested in the researching information technology its socio-technical outcomes. Under her guidance, I have been working on several interesting topics. One of them is Netlytics. It is a tool that assists with analyzing lifestyle trends, social media and emotions as they correspond to each other.

The iSchool has immense research capability and is an excellent opportunity in the waiting. Such research mutually benefits the school and the students, should they choose to participate. Our professors are more than willing to help students explore their avenues and come up with unique solutions and suggestions reaffirming that innovation is a byproduct of research.

Research Benefits

Now that I have been a part of the research, I understand its importance in education. Research teaches us the much-needed patience as we walk slowly towards our goal. It also teaches, that at times, we do not get results even though we may take all the right steps. We also understand the difference between referencing and a well-researched topic, it thus prepares us to submit well rounded reports in future. Lastly, research provides us with insights that helps us decide which path we really wish to pursue as a career.

Often, we find ourselves wondering about a topic that may have come across in one of our course. But soon, it gets lost in a flurry of priorities. Research is that tool that will help us discover our interests in subjects we simply have wondered about from afar. It thrives on curiosity, and takes us down new paths prior to the adoption of the idea and its subsequent popularity.

Article by Kirti Sharma