Research: Week 4

Finally have been able to gather data and compile it! After approaching what felt like a standstill, I was able to find that the number of producers and workers in fair trade have been increasing over time, and have been increasing by region. This information could be used to make future hypotheses, and hopefully will help me in the continuation of my research experience. After speaking with my PI last Thursday, we decided on some next steps to follow this. First, I will try to search for more data from these resources to analyze. If I find enough data to make comparisons and analyze it, then that is what I can write about. Otherwise, given there is little data easily accessible, I will write a paper summarizing the importance of fair trade certifications in developing countries, the benefits of these certifications, and so on. My goals for this upcoming week are to create similar figures to those above, but hopefully I can find data regarding a factor such as education or healthcare that can be impacted by fair trade certifications throughout a community.

Research aside, I am enjoying living in Orange County with beautiful weather and many great views. However, there is a misconception about California that everyone here is a democrat. While there are many liberals living here and there is more democratic legislation in place – legalization of marijuana, subsidies for electric cars, and paid family leave to name a few – there is also a high proportion of republicans living in Orange County, being known to be far more conservative than the state as a whole. This is in contrast to what I had always perceived all of this state to be like. I thought it would be like Ann Arbor in this way. Sure, we see Trump supporters every once in a while but it isn’t the norm. Here, however, I’ve seen quite a few Trump yard signs when I’ve veered away from campus to the surrounding beach towns which shocks me given the amount of cultural diversity in the area.

2 thoughts on “Research: Week 4

  • August 9, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    It must have felt great to pull together the data and results you’ve been analyzing! You’ve mentioned a few times (and in your next posts) about the need to locate further data sources. What data sources do you look to? It sounds like a challenging part of the research process, since your work can shift or slow-down, based on data that is available.

    Thanks for sharing your insights about Orange County and the political landscape. The perception of CA as a whole often is very democratic – have you looked into the demographics of who identifies with the republican party? It could be interested in to learn more about the history of the county, or how these differing views play out in local politics and everyday life. It’s great that you’re taking time to learn about your future potential community!


    • August 13, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      Hi Beth,
      It did feel good to do! I mostly try to find data on trade databases such as the World Trade Organization, ILO, World Bank, and there’s even a good amount of data on the websites of UNICEF and Fairtrade International. It’s unfortunate that I couldn’t find any data on these specific indicators, but at least I learned how to look for data and which sources are credible! It is, as my PI has put it, the most challenging part of research.

      The republican demographic in OC is about 41.8% whereas the entirety of California is only about 28.9% (2013). With a population almost as big as San Diego, this is rather surprising to me. I agree, it would be interesting to learn about it, I wonder how this demographic will change for the next election.



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