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That was my thought last week as I looked back through my time cards from March – July and realized the amount of time I spent doing transcription over the last few months. I don’t like doing transcription, in fact, sometimes I despise it. Every time I’ve had to transcribe interviews, it’s been for a project with a linguistic focus (read super attention to detail and much harder transcription 😉

Despite my dislike for transcription, I realize it’s part of the research process (well, for grad students any way 😉 and thus it is important. But than I thought about all of the hours that are a head of me coding those transcriptions. I like coding better than transcribing, but it’s not really “fun,” and on top of that, I’ve been staring at these interviews for nine months now and have read them all at least five times!

Well, the process does in deed suck sometimes, and that’s why we’re repeatedly told to only do research we love. I do love the research project I’m on and most days that’s enough to keep me going. But not always.

So what drives me? What causes me to push forward? What are my reasons for this seemingly self-torture?

I do anthropological research because I honestly believe that the outcomes may be (hopefully!) beneficial to others and this is why I am an applied anthropologist. As applied anthropologists we can work with the community to put the collected data into action, and the results can be very beneficial!

I’m not sure if it’s because I started out in an applied program, or if it’s the pragmatist in me, or what.. but I believe that it is very important to apply anthropological research. My hopes of helping is what keeps me going. I’m not sure that I understand what drives non-applied anthropologists, or other non-applied social scientists for that matter, to do research if no one will benefit from it… unless of course it’s an ego thing 😉

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