For future engineering education / qualitative research methods students of mine, here's some quick feedback from the 1st-year Purdue ENE PhD students who've just presented their first research projects. ("What would you tell next year's students?")
- Data collection takes longer than you think.
- Frustration is educational, and the experience has been deliberately designed so you'll experience it.
- Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.
I think #2 will be particularly relevant to when I teach my methods courses. It's not frustration for the sake of making you frustrated, folks. It's frustration that's part of this fumbling-around-in-the-unknown that research is, and part of learning how to be a researcher is learning how to sensitize yourself to -- and deal healthily with -- frustration.