I have gained a much better understanding of my role in research during my part-time position as an undergraduate researcher at Duke’s Social Science Research Institute (SSRI). The research project that I am helping with at the SSRI seeks to college data on the effects of Kidznotes, a site at which I also work part-time.
This research project that I am helping on has given me a much better understanding of what sort of work my planned major in Economics might prepare me for. Since I have a rather analytical mindset, I thought that I could potentially help with some data analysis for this project. And indeed, when I first started working, I began by doing data entry. While this was not the most exciting task, I knew that it was the place where I could help the most. I’ve learned that these doing smaller tasks is preparing me for larger ones. It also has enabled other researchers at the site to have more time to utilize their expertise on the more specialized aspects of the research.
I eventually finished the data entry and then acquired a new skill by learning how to create coding schemas and organize the qualitative data in a meaningful way. I quickly realized that periodically checking in with your mentor is the best way to make sure that you are doing your task correctly.
This DukeEngage experience has allowed me to realize that I actually really enjoy research. I plan to be more involved in research during the school year because it makes me feel like I am contributing positively to the world in some small way. This is just one of the reasons why I have enjoyed my experience with research and DukeEngage so far!