The decision to investigate fracking as a research topic was above all motivated by the recent Democratic Presidential Debates. In these debates, candidate Bernie Sanders repeatedly emphasized that he would pursue a policy against fracking if elected President, believing that, firstly, fracking is environmentally dangerous, and, secondly, that the pursuit of fracking overlooks the importance of developing alternative energy sources. My first encounter with the topic was through these debates, as before the issue was mentioned in this context, I was unaware of the fracking question. Following Sanders’ position, I therefore decided to develop a research paper that investigates the negative effects of fracking.

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When conducting my research on the topic, I primarily relied upon the school library database. The database provided me with access and material on numerous sources related to the topic, from introductory papers and articles which explain the fracking process, to articles that were critical of the process itself. When doing my research, I therefore tried to integrate materials that present the topic to non-specialists, which also coincided with my own newness to the topic, while also using peer-reviewed and scientific research articles so as to bolster my argument for the negative effects of fracking.

Writing a twelve page research paper on any topic is a challenge for a student at the freshman level. However, this topic was especially difficult because it was about an issue I had never heard of before the Presidential debates. Nevertheless, I was motivated to study the topic further because of the debates. From this perspective, some of the difficulties that arose from composing a research paper about a subject I was unfamiliar with were balanced out by my interest in the topic and a desire to know more about the issue. It was a challenging, but also rewarding experience.