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Researching Outside One's Field of Expertise

One of the factors that almost stopped me from joining the research team was the fact that I was not a marketing major. As someone who studied organizational and strategic communication, I was worried that I would not have the theoretical framework or the knowledge to conduct marketing-focused research.

As I have worked through the years, I realized that a background in marketing was not mandatory in order to succeed. While some journal articles took me a little longer to breakdown and understand, I never felt that the work was impossible to grasp. In fact, gathering data and writing literature reviews actually improved my understanding on various concepts by applying theory and practice together.

Taking on research in marketing has, much to my surprise, tied in very well with my communication coursework. The research work I have done on innovation district cities and their affiliated educational institutions has come in handy when selecting markets for campaign projects. My work on the impact of undergraduate research within DSS also allowed me to see the practical applications of the theories I studied in Interviewing and Career Management one year prior.

Diving head first into something new and different is always a little intimidating. I learnt though to simply accept opportunities and to learn as I go. Researching outside my field of study has taught me how impactful tying theory and practice together enhances learning. In addition, the experience proved to be surprisingly helpful in my own course and life endeavors.

To anyone who is worried about taking the leap into the cross-disciplinary work, I highly recommend making the effort; we never know how the dots may connect later down the road.

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