Stop

Go to places and observe what is there. Investigate local issues and institutions to find out what investigative research is like. Stop and look inside the church, sit in the pews, and note what you feel. Go stand on the Brooklyn Bridge, a hundred feet above the cold, black water of the East River, and look at the city skyline, the ocean horizon. Visit the neighborhood in which the most welfare mothers are said to live and cross its streets and sit in a diner booth and drink a cup of coffee. Stop, pause, get a sense of what this place is like. Sociological reports won't generate that kind of thick information.

In the following example, Ken, a student in my first-year college class, describes his visit to a local dentist to investigate preventive dentistry:

On entering his office I did not find the long wait, the screaming kids, and the general coldness of so many dentists' offices. Instead I found a small warm waiting room with carpeted floors, soft chairs, and classical music, with copies of Atlantic Monthly along with Sports Illustrated on the coffee table.

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