The Role of Service-Learning and Mentoring in the Early Career Development of a Research Methodologist

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The Qualitative Report

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Anxiety about statistics may impede new scholars from developing quantitative research skills and from sharing those skills in service-learning, internship, and work settings. Using an interpretive case study design with a convenience sample of one emerging student leader in a collaborative university-community service-learning research project, we explored the question “How did the career path of a quantitatively skilled researcher develop?” Data collected over a 3-and-a-half-year period included 7 semi-structured interviews with the student during her master’s and doctoral program and interviews with 3 mentors, 2 peers, and 2 community partners, as well as observations and documents. A constant comparison analysis method identified emerging themes: the role of mentors in building skills, building trust, and modeling risk taking. The results suggest strategies for increasing the number of new researchers who can bring quantitative research skills and career readiness to their respective fields.