Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Research Process

reflections by John Dorr 

Roberta herself was a bit of a paradoxical oddity in that she did not neatly fit into any category of 'type' as such.  She came from a family of expansive thought and possibilities with a flare for the dramatic.  Ideas, great thoughts of humanity, Shakespeare and the Bible were the table topics of her family.  Her father was an entrepreneur that developed a system for organizing one’s thoughts and "remembering everything you ever read.” So from the beginning and at her core there was a love of knowledge and the greater framework by which ideas where developed and conveyed. 

Her research process was designed to build upon this greater view of life.  Roberta would read extensively, mark up her books, discover noted authors in a field and digest their works.  But it never stopped with the last page of a book – once armed with some refreshing bits of an old travelogue recovered from the musty stacks of a used bookstore she would venture out to verify, rediscover, and add to what she had learned or read.  

Traveling throughout the Middle East and Europe provided her a rather expansive canvas from which to work. For the family this would mean that we would not be stopping off in Rome and seeing some sights, but that we would be stopping off to visit Michelangelo and Romulus and Remus, or Caesar in all his grandeur.  This must have been because it was not just the ideas that sparked her imagination but the people and the context that birthed the ideas or molded history.  It was ultimately about the stories of people that were rooted in a place and brought something great to humanity that seemed to charge her inquisitive mind.

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