Borehole Water in East Lansing

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Research Question

How knowledgeable are Campus students about the characteristics ofground water from the 29 boreholes in East Lansing?

Research Questions

  1. Did you know that East Lansing derives a larger percentage of its water from 29 boreholes?

  2. What do you understand by the term Underground water?

  3. Can you differentiate between hard water and soft water?

  4. Do you know the steps involved in the conversion of borehole water from hard to soft?

  5. Can you mention a few advantages and disadvantages of borehole water?

The Two Interviews

Interviewee 1: Carrie Matheson, School of linguistics

Interviewee 2: Peter Robertson, School of Chemistry.

Reflection Essay

The primary agenda of this research was to find out whether studentsfrom other departments were in a position to tell apart hard waterfrom soft water. The questions therein helped me generate a lot ofevidence for my research question. The first question aimed atfinding out whether the interviewees had any general knowledgeregarding the water supply system of East Lansing. The firstcorrespondent thought that all the water came from rivers while thesecond was fully aware of the primary source of water for EastLansing’s water supply system.

The second question aimed at establishing whether the intervieweeshad any knowledge regarding the characteristics of underground waterin terms of source, chemistry, and use. The question also aimed attesting their background knowledge regarding the subject. Bothinterviewees had a sketchy idea of what comprises underground water.However, the first correspondent did not know that underground wateremanated from infiltration by surface water.

The third question sought to establish whether the interviewees wereknowledgeable about the minerals that differentiate hard water fromsoft water. The question expected their answers to feature ions suchas Ca2+ and Mg2+. However, they gave simplisticdifferences such as hard water makes teeth brown and hard water isnot good for doing laundry.

The fourth question was under the impression that intervieweesalready knew that hard water was not good for use in the households.However, both interviewees could not tell how the municipalityconverts hard water to soft water for use in East Lansing. They couldnot remember processes learned in high school chemistry such asdistillation.

The last question sought to find out whether the interviewees knewthe characteristics of borehole/ underground water that made its usean advantage or a disadvantage. According to them, the main advantageof borehole is its availability. Disadvantages include browning teethand it is unsuitable for laundry.

The interview involved a one- on- one interaction with therespondents. I set up the meeting at the campus gardens where Iconducted each interview separately. I then recorded the answersgiven by the interviews and later wrote them down in detail. I tookinto consideration that the interviewees obtained basic knowledgeabout water chemistry in their high school studies. The subject isalso common in the news. Based on their answers, in determined thatthe interviewees had general knowledge regarding hard waterchemistry. This worked to my advantage during the interviews.However, some question required technical knowledge and I would wishto change them in the future.

When it came to technical questions, I had to explain the questionusing simpler terms (Hartwig et al. 2011). For instance, therespondents had not heard of converting hard water to soft waterbefore. I had to convince them that the practice is real and common.I also ensured that the surrounding environment was conducive as away of instilling confidence and trust in the respondents (Mize &ampLadd, 1998).


Hartwig, M., Granhag, P.,Stromwall, L., (2011). Detecting deceptionin suspects: Verbal cues as a function of interview strategy.Psychology, crime and law, Vol.7 no 7

Mize, J., Ladd, G. W., (1998). Use of non- verbal cues ininterviews. Developmental Psychology, 24 (6), 782-788

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