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?")

  1. Data collection takes longer than you think.
  2. Frustration is educational, and the experience has been deliberately designed so you'll experience it.
  3. 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.