I don’t have any data to support this, but I’d venture to guess that most people interact with research when they read a journal article or hear a news-worthy soundbite. In essence, most people are seeing the final product, a perfectly frosted cake sitting prettily in the middle of the table.
What they don’t see is the time and mess that went into making that perfectly frosted cake.
I am in the middle of the behind-the-scenes time-sucking and mess-making part of research. I am full on dissertating right now (I don’t even know if that’s a word, I’ve just seen others use it and it’s kind of fun to say). This behind-the-scenes mess I am working on is my dissertation proposal, which outlines the design and methods of my dissertation research and includes a literature review to support and rationalize my research purpose. When finished, this proposal will be 60-70% of my dissertation.
In the midst of this dissertating process, I am forming a deeper appreciation for what research really is. It is not the perfectly packaged article you read and soundbite you hear. Here are some of the words I would use to describe research:
In short, this is a journey. A one-woman quest (with lots of support) in unfolding the researcher I am becoming and understanding how that informs other identities I hold: therapist, teacher, blogger, advocate, mother, etc.
I am noticing that this is not unlike other journeys I have undertaken. Becoming a music therapist. Becoming a business woman. Becoming a mother.
I am trying to be mindful of and appreciate the process as it unfolds. Relishing in the chaos and messiness. Knowing at some level what the end product will be.
Others may just see the final product, the perfectly frosted cake. But I am coming to understand that the real fun and joy of research is going through the process that went into making that cake.