This year, after working a few jobs as a research assistant as well as volunteering in community projects, I am learning the true meaning of being a social researcher.
Last year I spent my honours year at university conducting my own research and topic and had to write a 20,000 word thesis.
This year, I am using the knowledge and insight gained from my research and implementing them in the community.
I’ve come to realise that being a social researcher is not just about researching information, writing articles and publishing them.
Social research, especially that which deals with human issues, is also about the connections you make with people, the face to face interaction during interviews and observations, and the long lasting impact you create from changes you implement as a result of your research.
Being a social researcher is a multifaceted and complex job. At various times, your job and tasks vary. You become a writer, a negotiator, an analyst, a problem solver and social worker all in one.
But for researchers it is not the salary or promotion that gains you recognition and checks your progress. It is when you have your work as published as possible and people cite them.
More importantly, and probably the most silent, unknown and unspoken recognition I’ve received is the praise and efforts I’ve created for the Deaf and hard of hearing people in the community; more specifically, those who are Muslims or come from an ethnic background.
Many people assume the events I’m planing and the awareness I’m creating is my job.
Yes I am working as a research assistant on other projects and I am volunteering with organisations who assist me in creating these events, but little do people know that these changes and events I’m creating are a result of the findings from the research I did last year.
While a part of me feels like I have moved on from my thesis in the writing sense, everything I am doing now, I have to remind myself, is acting upon my findings and creating change to the issues I’ve identified in my research.
That, I believe is the best recognition a social researcher could achieve, even if it is unspoken and unaware of.
Allhumdillah, all praise belong to God, for all this experience and all the endless blessings and opportunities.