Data Collection Day

We had our first day out at the cemetery on Friday, starting to collect information on the burial markers visible at the site. We began by placing a numbered flag next to each visible marker. We only brought 100 flags with us, and managed to mark perhaps a quarter of the graves.

Once each grave is marked students use their cell phones to collect information on a special form that we developed, via KoBoToolbox. They record information about the individual being commemorated, any epitaph, the shape and condition of the headstones, and any mementos left at the grave site. The students also take a picture of the grave that is linked to the form.

In about two hours our group of 15 students, working in pairs or small groups, recorded 35 grave sites. That means we’re about a 10th of the way through. Unfortunately, we only have about 6 more sessions out at the cemetery. The pace of data collection should pick up, but it’s possible that a single semester won’t be enough time to record every grave. Perhaps with some additional volunteers we’ll get through it all before the semester ends.

Though data collection is just beginning, I think we were all struck with the number of infants and children buried at the cemetery. Perhaps it was a factor of the section we were recording, but I think those small graves made a big impression on all of us.

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