Research Reflections 5

I found my expert through an article I found on a GALE database. In the article, it described a Veterans’ Affairs hospital in Miami, Florida and how they specialize in helping veterans cope with mental and physical disabilities. One of the therapists at the hospital is Daniella David. Her name was in the article itself. Dr. David specializes in helping soldiers with suicidal tendencies and is herself a veteran of the Israeli army, so I thought she would be a wonderful candidate for this interview. I also wanted to interview her because there were a lot of quotes from her in the article and she was talking about the statistics of veterans’ suicide, which is one of my research questions.

I had no idea how to go about getting in contact with Dr. Daniella David. I thought about searching her name on Google and hopefully finding an email address, but I found nothing, so I asked Ms. Hamilton for help. Ms. Hamilton told me to go to the VA hospital’s website and search for her email address through the staff page. All of her information was there, including her email address. I wrote her an email explaining that I was a student at Creekview doing a research project over veterans’ suicide. I explained to her how I found her name and why I thought she would make an excellent candidate for the interview. Dr. David said that she would love to answer my questions, but wanted more information about the project first. I told her all about the project starting in February when we read All Quiet on the Western Front. She then answered my interview questions. 

I learned so much from Dr. David. I learned that there is more to veterans; suicide than just stress or guilt from war. She told me that sometimes, veterans commit suicide because of untreated mental conditions such as PTSD and depression. She also said that suicides can happen because of substance abuse or problems that occur at home after the soldier has returned from a tour. I also learned that there are a lot of efforts in place trying to solve this issue. There are VA hospitals like the one Dr. David works at that offer different types of therapy from family counseling to substance abuse therapy to acupuncture. There are also military training courses that are designed to teach soldiers about the warning signs of suicide and show them how to better deal with stress and anxiety/depression. One more thing I learned from her is that there are two definite age peaks where suicide becomes more predominant (18-24 and 65+) and that white males are at a greater risk for suicide, especially if they have a history of substance abuse or mental illness.

As far as finding and contacting experts goes, I think I learned a lot. I learned that I can find out about potential experts to interview just by reading an article-I do not have to search an actual name. I also learned how to find a way to get in contact with experts. I found out that their workplace’s website may have the contact information I am looking for and that I don’t have to type a person’s name into Google to find an email address. This was extremely helpful because I did not have to waste time looking at different websites hoping to find a way to contact my expert. I also learned a lot about writing a business letter. I learned which phrases and terms are best to use and how to identify myself and the project better.

If I was advising someone on using an expert interview as a source, I would tell them about how to find an expert’s name and how to contact them. I would also let them know to be very thorough when asking questions in order to get as much information as possible. Additionally, I would tell them to be patient when waiting for replies and to thank the expert they found for their responses.

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~ by kristinsundvall on April 30, 2010.

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