A New Undergraduate Research Project

Lucy McGowan is a third-year undergraduate at the University of Missouri. Her major is Food Science, but she has developed a passion for the study of entrepreneurial behavior in the overlapping sectors of wineries, regional foods, and tourism. Her passion has resulted in a study of the networking among older and new wineries in the growing Missouri wine industry, using survey methods and the UCINET network anlysis software. She completed a poster presentation today as part of an all-campus celebration of undergraduate research.

Lucy began her project by reading widely, including Georg Simmel (in translation) on tertius gaudens, as well as a number of classic pieces by Lin Freeman, Ron Burt, and David Krackhardt. She taught herself to use UCINET. It was very rewarding for me to observe her methods. She began her empirical work by attending the statewide wine and grape conference, meeting and interviewing staff from the state board and leaders in the industry to better understand the structure of the industry. She tested questions based upon her literature review with these informants and created a web-based survey, which was forwarded to all members in the industry. I would recommend this design to any graduate student.

A manuscript will be forthcoming as part of her summer research internship. I’ll follow up with another post.

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