The Messy Process of Research: Dilemmas, Process, and Critique


  • Charlotte Clark Duke University, United States
  • Michael Brody Montana State University,United States
  • Justin Dillon King’s College London, United Kingdom;
  • Paul Hart University of Regina, Canada
  • Joe Heimlich Ohio State University, United States


The unabashedly messy aspects of the research process are often hidden from published view, and are therefore not available to encourage and instruct. The authors tell specific stories about "messy" research, arranged around: • evolving research questions, • methodology or methods surprises, • problematic answers, and • publication dilemmas. These stories are from work amongst diverse categories and frames of inquiry, and are meant to encourage fellow students to persist and problem- solve mid-process. We hope that having real researchers tell their own sto- ries of mucking around the methodologies and ethics of inquiry can encour- age others to engage and persist, and can be the beginning of a more process-oriented and perhaps more nuanced conversation that opens active discussion and scrutiny amongst critical friends.