For my internship, I’m working on a research project that seeks to reexamine and redefine absent Black fatherhood. I work on the historical part of the project, so I read through and code interviews with ex-slaves from the 1930s. This portion of the research more or less began at the time my internship started. This means that I, along with my coworker, have been able to really help shape the project.
We started coding with a template that the researcher had already developed. This helped orient us and get us off the ground. After a few weeks, however, we examined the data we had so far and decided to make some changes to how we processed the raw data. This meant we had to go back and redo what we had already done. In the long run, though, this put us on the right track.
We have also had the chance to go through and find preliminary patterns in the data we’ve gathered. There are a lot of factors that make it difficult to draw concrete conclusions. For example, do variations in the data from state to state indicate that people’s experiences were significantly different, or did the interviewers merely ask different questions? However, we have been able to identify some broad patterns, and it’s satisfying to analyze the same data that we collected.