Breath of Clarity

Discussion Comment: Research Question

Original Post by Casey Kahler:

For this discussion I really tried to think about ideas that have been shaping my life in the past five years that I would be interested in delving into deeper.

Does community based tourism in South Africa help mitigate the effects of poaching?

In 2015, I traveled to South Africa for two-weeks as a part of an alternative spring break. One of the weeks in Africa was spent volunteering at Shamwari Game Reserve. During our stay at Shamwari, we also spent time volunteering in the local community. The whole idea was to strengthen community bonds and give them a personal connection to the reserve so they wouldn’t turn and aid the poachers.

Does owning a dog improve one’s cardiovascular health?

I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Anthrozoology which is the study of the relationship between human and animals and how that relationship has changed over time. A part of my coursework was to foster a dog from a local humane society for the academic year before finding its forever home. By having a dog living at college with me, it caused me to be much more active to make sure I was giving my dog its needed exercise. Also growing up dogsledding caused me to be much more active. Does this increase in activity positively correlate to owning a dog?

Does studying abroad improve employment success upon graduation?

In Fall 2015, I spent a semester studying abroad in Ireland. This semester truly shaped me as an individual and yes—even matured me. Students who study abroad are experiencing how to live life possibly oceans away from anyone and anything they’ve ever known. Some may even learn a new language and live in a culture completely different than their home country. Does gaining global experience, being immersed in new cultures, and languages benefit these students when it comes to employment offers?

My Comment:


I appreciate research question #2. I got a mini Australian Shepherd in November and thoroughly enjoy taking him on walks. The specific breed requires a massive amount of exercise, and it’s helped me consistently move my body, as well. At the beginning of my first quarter in the EPM program, one of my goals in the Student Success course was to walk him everyday. Now, I walk him almost everyday and it has been such a highlight of my experience taking these online classes. Not only does it support me staying in shape, but it also exposes me to other people on the walking path. It also results in me spending more time walking through a forest preserve and looking at the ocean. All the non-cardiovascular health benefits of walking a dog may be interesting to implement into the project if you are ever wanting to make the research question less specific. I figure there are other ways owning a dog helps improve cardiovascular health aside from taking the dog on a walk. Perhaps, having a companion reduces a person’s overall stress levels or helps them develop a routine resulting in overall enhanced human self-care. Either way, I would keep in mind it’s important to be conscious of subsets of your research project’s population who were already active before getting the dog and have quality cardiovascular health. It would be interesting to study cases where there was clear change due to the added dog variable.

Comment by Casey Kahler:

Hi Mary,

Thank you for your reply. My foster dog was an Aussie mix and they definitely need their exercise! :) I’m so glad to hear that your dog has given you not only the chance to exercise and get outside but also to meet people along the way–it’s amazing the lifestyle differences we notice when having a dog. Yes, thank you for bringing up other ideas to examine too such as stress levels. Also, you bring up a great point about examining other lifestyle factors that could impede on this research too. Thanks for all your feedback :)