Portfolio: Thomas Boomhower Portfolios Project Proposal

Module Six: Final Project Ideas

I am currently deciding between three datasets for the final project. Two of these are from amongst the selection provided to us already. These are the “Haunted Places in America” dataset and the “Account of Losses Sustained by the Oneidas & Tuscaroras...” dataset.

I am interested in exploring the Haunted Places in America data because it seems like a lot of fun. I’ve always been super interested in paranormal stuff, so the opportunity to work with paranormal data on any sort of academic project would be awesome.

In terms of questions, I think my main one would be determining what types of locations are most likely to have reports of hauntings? For instance, are hospitals more likely to have reports of hauntings than schools? It would also be interesting to see if any outlier states exist, perhaps with small populations but lots of reports, or vice versa.

I was drawn to the Account of Losses Sustained by the Oneidas & Tuscaroras dataset, because of my research into the “Sullivan Expedition” for my seminar paper. Having researched the destruction suffered for not allying with the revolutionary forces against the British, I’d love to dig into the other side more.

I’m not sure if I’d have a question for this data, my idea at this point would be more to make it visually accessible and boost recognition of Indigenous allies.

The third dataset I’m interested in using is the “Bigfoot Sightings” data compiled by BFRO and under Timothy Renner on Data.World. Similarly to my interest in the hauntings data, I was drawn to this by my interest in the paranormal. I am also interested in this dataset because both the raw data, and cleaned data are available, so I’d have versatility to adapt my project as I dug more into the data.

For just the Bigfoot data, I would want to see if there is a time of year, in a given region that an individual is most likely to see Bigfoot? Does that time of year correlate in any way to peak hiking times?

Timothy Renner also has provided datasets with sightings of Dogman and UFO’s, so it would be interesting to combine those three, perhaps even with the hauntings data as well. Without getting too much into it, there has been interesting research into Bigfoot that suggests “comorbidity” for lack of a better term, with other paranormal phenomenon. It would be interesting to see to what extent the data backs that up.

With the combined datasets I think it would be cool to see if certain states are more prone to paranormal activity than others, and whether more populated states report more of a specific type than others. For example, it could be assumed a more populated state would have more UFO or ghost reports, than outdoorsy encounters like Bigfoot or Dogman.

One reply on “Module Six: Final Project Ideas”

For the Bigfoot/UFO/Hauntings data, it should be pretty easy to combine those–put them all in one big spreadsheet and add an extra column for type (eg, bigfoot, ufo, etc) and then you can compare distribution of each type against the other. If you decide to combine them, you’ll need to make sure that any columns they don’t share are accounted for (ie, if there’s no moon phase columns in the hauntings dataset, you’ll need to move the columns around when you paste them together)

You will need to compare against population by getting the county or state level population and comparing the # sightings per 100,000 population. (This can be easily done either in Tableau or with a spreadsheet formula). You can get county-level population data for the whole US here: Unless the years column has a big date spread, I’d just use the most recent population numbers.

For the Tuscaroras and Oneidas data (as well as the hauntings etc data), remember that you do need to make an argument. There are only two requirements for the final project, and one is that there needs to be an argument. “Native allies were important and forgotten” is not a graduate level argument, so you’ll need to push further by contextualizing that dataset within some secondary research.

If you’re interested in a group porject, Hannah is also looking at the paranormal data

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