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Diary of a Research Assistant: Week 5

Professor and I spent most of our meeting this week figuring out identifiers for the important people in our study. Identifiers, as I’ve mentioned, are sort of like code names in research, and they’re used to maintain confidentiality and redact any information that might be sensitive regarding the school, district, or participants. Many of the participants we could identify from their introductions in more recent interviews, but some required more digging.

I was amazed at the stack of folders Professor pulled out when looking for her notes from the meetings she attended, and I was sort of surprised by how “messy” I was realizing research is. Granted, if everything in this study was totally cut and dry, and themes and trends were immediately apparent to us, then there wouldn’t really be any work for us as researchers. While the slight chaos bothered me as an incredibly organized person, I see the justification for sporadic notes and memos written on meeting agendas and coffee napkins, as in the moment I’m sure you’re only thinking about getting that one idea down in hopes it could turn into a discovery.

In the process of cleaning the last interview this week, I noted a few things that could potentially be early findings, which got me giddy. It will be interesting to see how/if these themes come up again and possibly turn into something bigger. I feel as though I’m definitely finding my place in this study and figuring out where I stand in the research, and now that a lot of the ambiguity and uncertainty has been mostly resolved, I couldn’t be more excited to keep going.


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