After reading Purdue Online Writing Lab’s page on primary research I have gained a better understanding of what the term means. Primary research is data collected by the person that will be using the data. For example, if I were to write a research paper on public school cafeteria food, I might take a survey from students about their favorite foods. The results of this survey would be primary research because I actually collect the data myself rather than use data from another person’s survey. In the case of the research project I am conducting for my English 1102 class, primary research will certainly play a large role. I will be writing about Ray Cude’s particular panel of the Quilt. Because there is probably not a lot of data already recorded on Cude, I will have to research my own data. In doing so I will observe the panel of the quilt itself. In addition to the panel, the NAMES Project also has a letter and a poem associated with Cude. Because I am making my own observations of these items, this would be considered primary research.
I will also supplement my primary research with secondary sources. I plan to research the history of HIV/AIDS in the United States. Discovering the causes of HIV may reveal information about Cude and commonalities he may share with other people memorialized in the Quilt. I also plan to research the social activism associated with HIV/AIDS. The letter kept with Cude’s panel seems to emphasize social activism in recognition of HIV/AIDS as a public health crisis.
Overall, I will be using both primary and secondary sources in my research on Ray Cude’s panel of the Quilt. I will also be conducting my own primary research in order to gain more information and a better understanding of Ray Cude’s life and early death. In my research I will expand my knowledge of the national crisis of AIDS and better understand the political activism around the crisis.