Prior to taking my course, my experience of research involved mostly googling bands and transcribing Pixies songs on a crack copy of Sibelius for my undergraduate dissertation. But I’m a social scientist now, and apparently my trade has tools. I found the methods course fairly uninspiring when actually taking it, but having worked out how to write an essay again I managed to work out that, actually, it was pretty useful and now I’m looking for a job, maybe invaluable.

I’m looking at a job at the IPPR – reading carefully, this may just be the exact job that I could hope for. Reading the job description, I suddenly discover that I am in possession of knowledge and skills to do it – quantitative or qualitative, archival research or focus groups, postal survey or semi-structured interview, desk-based or fieldwork. I discover that I  know about the subject, and care about it – I can argue my case for redistributive welfare, green industrial growth, renewable energy; or against neoliberal ideas of big society which may work for the majority of the population, but make the most vulnerable even more vulnerable; or for democratic participation and individual and community representation at all levels. I have my views and I can do the leg-work to prove it: I’m actually pretty pleased, it’s easy to get bogged down doing a Masters, as if it were for its own sake.


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