What's Your Research Identity?

Dr. Zamora asked us how we identified ourself as a research student. Yikes! Talk about an open-ended question. I really didn't know how I identified myself as a researcher. And it was because I have an old school view on what it means to be a researcher. After our discussion I find that I am stuck in the past constraints of what it means to be a researcher. 

This week's article titled, Liminal Spaces and Research Identity by James Purdy and Joyce Walker talks about a scholarly identity as it relates to ones research identity. Before I could read this article and fully immerse myself in the reading I had to do a bit of research to understand what is even meant by liminal spaces. 

According to inaliminalspace.org, "A liminal space is the time between the ‘what was’ and the ‘next.’ It is a place of transition, waiting, and not knowing." From the definition it seems like I am caught in a liminal space of sorts. My thinking of what a researcher's identity can be is stuck in what it used to be. The more I read, the more I learn that I never stopped being a researcher. Especially since I became an educator I research all the time. Most of it is done online and I never even considered that to be research at all. Research always meant a trip to the library where I searched through the Dewey Decimal system. 

Janet Murray defines liminal as. "the threshold in between the world we think of as external and real and the thoughts in our mind that we take for fantasies." So then I was confused all over again. But I think that is because I was giving it a surface read. If I really consider the two meanings and what they present then I understand that what each definition is claiming is that we are on the verge of something. Possibly on the cusp of breaking new grounds and barriers in terms of research. 

In reading the Purdy and Walker's article I see that I may have the same preconceived notions that many undergraduate professors have about their freshman and sophomore students. They think that their students don't have the skills and the tools needed to be researchers and they skill set is novice at best. But in this new digital era the students may know more about how to navigate this digital research world much better than the professors.

"Being a good academic researcher according to these texts requires students to leave behind existing identities as online researcher."

So what is my research identity? I still feel I wear many hats. But my research serves many purposes. I read books for my pleasure or that I want to teach and I am highlighting and looking up phrases that allude to something else. And I do none of these things because someone else told me to do them. It is to broaden my understanding of whatever topic I am interested in. So my research identity is depends upon whatever my interests are at the moment that leads me down the rabbit hole of information.


  1. Replies
    1. Oh wow! You're two kind! Now that I know that I have someone else other than my professors reading this I will have to step my game up! :)


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