Dear Data: The Process of Becoming a Researcher


  • Christopher Cumby Memorial University of Newfoundland


Dear Data is a project by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec (2016), two strangers who met at a conference and decided to become friends by sending post cards to each other each week depicting hand-drawn data visualizations from every day events, such as the number of doors opened in a day, or how many complaints were made in a day. This paper draws inspiration from the Dear Data project. As a doctoral studies assignment, it was created to understand research processes, collaboration, and different ways of conducting research using personal experience over a three-week period. For this project, I chose to track how many goodbyes I made in person while travelling around Newfoundland and Labrador for the Christmas holidays. The paper, then, is an illustration of my process of understanding research through social interactions. In doing this project, I created an alternative data visualization to help present the data collected from the project, and use the visualization to aid in the presentation of results and interpretations. Finally, I discuss the process of doing research and the multitude of decisions required, while also commenting on some of the lessons learned in doing this project.