Be a researcher, they said. You will be great at it, they said.

When you find something you love and enjoy, go for it. Inquiry, analysis, and understanding of the world ignite endorphins in me that are unrelatable to anything that I have learned or explored in my education and career. The challenges, the misconceptions all await; ready to be explored and understood.

Having researched for political parties, colleges and websites with varying genres, I constantly change my professional hat to ensure no overlap. No day is ever the same. Having made investigations for diverse clients with entirely different requirements, audiences and intentions, getting it right the first time is a test that I take very seriously.

With each piece of work, there is a myriad of processes to go through. Making inquiries into anything needs me to set SMART goals to remain focused on the issue at hand. Working from a brief, I work out how to get the information requested, incorporating criteria that the mandate expresses.

Whether to use quantitative, qualitative, or mixed data collection methods requires a thorough understanding of how my client will use the data and who will be reading it.

I have an inquiring mind, nothing is as read, and the researcher’s job is to find the strong cases, the immediate competition and analyse what could be next. There are always alternative views, contradictory studies. My job is to find these and compare, making decisions on what is essential.

In many ways, it is easy to get distracted by new things that I never realised I had an interest in before – making learning, improving, and information retention something that has taken hold of my life. Following trends, guidelines and policies in all practice areas ensure that the work is original, thorough, and evidenced. The background reading and ethical considerations are constant; resources are on hand for work and a set of systems to ensure audit trails and sources. Thus, allowing me to guarantee my work is original and well-sourced.

When the final version is uploaded, forwarded, or published, it is important that I feel that I have meticulously fulfilled the directive. I have given a professional, non-biased and honest piece of work.

The hardest part of being a researcher is shutting off at the end of the day. With so much information gathered and a brain full of facts and figures, my motivation to see the result can be intense. It is a learning curve that I find difficult to grasp, as when you love what you do, is it work or pleasure?