Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of Research Practice, 9(2), Article M8. Retrieved from


Copyright © 2013 Journal of Research Practice and the authors. Published under a Creative Commons license.


“Research assistant” is a term used to describe student researchers across a variety of contexts and encompasses a wide array of duties, rewards, and costs. As critical qualitative scholars situated in a discipline that rarely offers funded research assistantships to graduate students, we explore how we have engaged in faculty-student research in one particularly understudied context: the independent study. Using narrative writing and reflection within a framework of collaborative autoethnography, the first three authors reflect as three “generations” of protégés who were each mentored through independent studies during their MA programs by the fourth author. We explore the environmental context, mentor facets, and protégé facets that highlight the light and shadow, or successes and struggles, of our mentoring relationships. Reflecting on our own experiences of collaborative research through independent studies, we suggest a model for feminist research mentorship that may be enacted across disciplines.