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Research doesn’t always go as planned. There are the usual challenges of balancing resources and shifting timelines to accommodate the unexpected. Throw in the learning curve of an early career researcher and the multi-faceted understanding and application of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in archives, and designing a research project becomes a complex journey of understanding. This presentation will outline challenges the researcher faced in designing and modifying a research project examining EDI initiatives in digital collections metadata practices. More specifically, it will address the challenges of: defining and operationalizing equity, diversity, and inclusion; ensuring the design is inclusive itself through sampling methods and input from experts; navigating organizational and terminology differences among academic archives; and finding space for self-care and understanding. While this research project is ongoing and has not yet reached the data collection stage, these challenges give insight into the complexity of archival research designs and prove that just as much can be learned from the process as from the results.


This presentation was given at the 2020 Society of American Archivists (SAA) Research Forum during the virtual SAA Annual Meeting held August 5-8, 2020.