Post One: Summer research takeaways

As I begin the final stages of my research, I want to share the three main takeaways I have from my work this summer.

  1. Flexibility is key! I’ve had to alter the direction of my research on numerous occasions over the course of the summer as new information came up.  Because my work is so reliant on interviews with people, I need to be particularly open to change. This has been tough for me, especially since I had such a clear vision of what I wanted my final product to look like when I was still working with hypotheticals this past spring. However, some interviews have elucidated trends that were previously unknown to me, causing me to consider different ideas. Though these deviations initially were uncomfortable, they led to my most significant breakthroughs.
  2. After a few short and seemingly fruitless interviews, I learned the importance of thoroughly researching each person/organization before conducting the interviews. At first, I avoided tailoring my questions to individuals to ensure I had completely comparable results (with regards to the interviewee’s answers). As I got more skilled in interviewing, though, I developed ways to ask informed (while still neutral) questions that led to  interesting and complex responses. Furthermore, by educating myself in the nuances of specific organizations before the interview, I was able to ask deeper questions that provided profound insights.
  3. Don’t expect to unveil the scandal of the century! I went into this research with the mindset of an investigative journalist, only to be disappointed every time I realized my data did not prove a groundbreaking point. This is okay! In fact, it is important for me to be able to add onto the frameworks set by experts who have come before me while adding my own insights.

Stay tuned for updates as I continue to write-up my final report this week!