Volume 9 Issue 2 (2013): Research Assistantships
Main Articles

From Research Assistant to Professional Research Assistance: Research Consulting as a Form of Research Practice

Dawn E. Pollon
Pollon Qualitative Research
Monique Herbert
OISE, University of Toronto
Saad Chahine
Mount Saint Vincent University
Olesya Falenchuk
OISE, University of Toronto
Published November 1, 2013


Research assistantships have long been viewed as an extension of the formal education process, a form of apprenticeship, and a pathway into the professional practice of research in institutional settings. However, there are other contexts in which researchers practice research. Our self-reflective analysis identified that RAship experiences during the masters and the PhD may serve developmentally foundational roles in the advancement of an RA’s knowledge, skills, and passion for research. Further, analysis of participants’ experiences revealed that RA supervisors play critical roles in the development of RAs as researchers. We conclude with the understanding that RAships may be formative in contributing to the development of individuals who go on to specialise as professional research consultants as research consulting is a natural extension of the RA role. Students entering into RAships, current RAs, new faculty members, current RA supervisors, faculty members looking to improve their research productivity, and Chairs of departments will all benefit from reading this paper and its contribution to the current understanding of how RAships impact the development of researchers, and specifically how RAships contribute to the development of research consultants.