Gorillas in the Mist: by Dian Fossey

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Dian Fossey was a good researcher. But, what is a researcher? One who conducts research? Surely that is the correct definition, but to properly understand the definition we would then have to define the word research. Research is the process of collecting data and information in order to obtain knowledge about the research topic. With these definitions we can say, without a doubt, that Dian Fossey was a researcher. But why was she a “good” researcher? By reading the book ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ we can better identify why we can consider Dian a “good” researcher. She illustrates four important traits needed in order to accomplish comprehensive research. These traits are determination, consistency, knowledge, and having passion. Let’s take a closer look at each of these traits, and how Fossey illustrated them in her book. Determination, as defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, is “a firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end.” Qualitative Research Methods by Bruce L. Berg helps beginning researchers establish their desired end or research idea, and even reach it. His “Spiraling Research Approach” allows the researcher’s idea to “continue to shift, change, and take form as the research process unfolds.” In December of 1966 Dian Fossey began her study of the African gorillas. What was her “desired end?” She wanted to introduce the world to these gentle creatures that she loved. Her book is the direct result of her determination to introduce the world to gorillas. Her love for these animals is thrust upon the reader as she describes each interaction. For example, Dian introduces her readers to Digit as “an inquisitive ball of fluff.” She takes the reader on the journey through Digit’s life, where he is eventually murdered by poachers while protecting his family. Upon opening this book each reader is destined to fall in love with this “inquisitive ball of fluff,” just as they are destined to be heartbroken upon his death. If we combine Berg’s...
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