Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:Romantic Relationships and the University
Author(s):Bergstrom, Ingrid
social life
Abstract:My research pursues the question of how romantic relationships affect incoming freshmen; more specifically I focus on romantic relationships carried over from high school, in which both individuals in the relationship matriculate to the university. My research looked to better understand what elements of the University of Illinois had an impact on these relationships and how changes in the relationship affected the transition to college. I considered if there are any measures that the university can take in order to assist these individuals, and any others in relationships. My research found that these relationships do, in most cases, change in response to the transition to the college environment. I would also argue from my findings that these relationships also largely impact impact the lives of the individuals involved. My seed research did not ascertain the specific ways in which these relationships impact the individuals involved, and I hope that my proposed research will be able to answer that question.
Issue Date:2008-02-13
Course / Semester:ANTH 411: Methods for Sociocultural Anthropology, Prof. Nancy Abelmann. This course introduced students to a variety of ethnographic methods. Students tried their hand at some of these methods through a focused project. I had students think about their semester-long work as "pilot research"; although they did write up a short paper on their findings (their "discuss" section of the database), the culminating assignment was a research proposal in which they envision building on their preliminary findings in a longer/larger project. In the beginning of the semester, students did some warm-up exercises not directly related to their projects (an observation, an analysis of a university document, and an interview) -- some students elected to remove these from their databases while others left them in because of their connection to the final project. Students' "question" and "plan" sections of the database include multiple entries as I encouraged them to continue to refine these over the course of the semester in dialogue with their own emerging findings. I also asked students to search both the U of I Student Life and Cultures Archives and well as this EUI IDEALS collection to find archives relevant to their pilot/proposed research. All students were asked to "reflect" on the research experience and to make "recommendations" to the University on the basis of their research findings. The course syllabus is available at:
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-02-13

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Student Communities and Culture
    The university offers an extraordinary opportunity to study and document student communities, life, and culture. This collection includes research on the activities, clubs, and durable social networks that comprise sometimes the greater portion of the university experience for students.

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