Post 5: Final Thoughts

As I prepare to head back to the ‘Burg tomorrow, I’d like to share my final thoughts on my Monroe project and research as a whole. In regards to my original topic of “The Consequences of Antibiotic and Hormone Use in Agricultural Livestock” I almost immediately realized it was to broad of a topic to cover. What I needed was to be specific. As my research progressed, I found my topic narrowing to “The Impact of Antibiotic Use in Agricultural Livestock on Antibiotic-Resistance.” The great thing about research is that there are occasions when your investigation guides your focus, rather than the original idea dominating the process. The natural narrowing of my topic was actually a part of the research process I was happy to experience. The most frustrating part of my research experience was sifting through the nearly 30 articles I had collected. First, they were extremely repetitive and often dense. Second, they all ended with the firm affirmation that more research needed to be done on the topic. Third, there were no consistent data collection methods and very little empirical data at all. Finally, the empirical data that was given was often years old, some dating back from the 1980’s. I wish I had the resources and power to push forward the research that’s needed to unify the thoughts that have been tossed around from the 1970’s about agriculture’s impact on antibiotic-resistance. But I don’t. And it doesn’t seem that anyone is concerned enough at this moment to really execute the data collection and analysis that needs to be done. This seems to be the case in many research problems. This project exposed me to the huge competition for resources (mainly money) for research of any kind. It is a difficult world to compete in, but can often produce amazing findings. I hope future research on this topic can produce more quantitative results that can measure the true impact that the agricultural livestock industry has on antibiotic-resistance.