A Few Tips on Salvaging a Project

By Lucas Braszak

Undergoing a project for your internship can be a very tumultuous experience. Not only do you meet new people and discover fascinating information along the way, the prospect of ending up with an amazing outcome to the project is exciting in itself. However, there may be some bumps along the way that may frustrate you, or have you believe that the project is a dead-end. Here, you will find some ideas that can help overcome these trials and salvage your research.

Ask for help!

What may be perhaps the most obvious answer sometimes is one that needs to be stated again and again. Sometimes, ones pride can get in the way of obtaining even the most basic assistance, because there is the idea that the project must be done on your own and you don’t want to bother anyone, or that you can pull through on your own. Doing this just makes things harder for yourself. It has not even been four months into my own internship, and already I can’t count the amount of times that my supervisor has provided a useful tip to think of, or a book to read through to help my research. Most people are there to help, and to not utilise the knowledge that they are ready to provide is only making things progress more slowly with your own work.

Branch out!

If the research materials that you have in your immediate reach is not helping you make progress in your project, don’t be afraid to take the time to look for the ones that will! After a few months of interning at Heritage Mississauga, I have exhausted most of the relevant materials that would help me, and as soon as that happened my research appeared to stall momentarily. So my supervisor and I wondered, where else can we find more information? By exhausting our personal archives, we decided to visit other places that held archives of their own.

The saviour of my project. Image credit goes to tripadvisor. https://www.tripadvisor.ca/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g154982-d3675553-i631...

A few emails later, and we were on our way to the Peel Art Gallery Museum, and it was one of the saving graces for the project. With holding an immense archive, we were able to find old newspapers that not proved to be relevant to my own research, but may have saved it as well. Now I am constantly discovering new information about the Red River Rebellions, and the outcome of my project is optimistic.


Rethink your project

Just like how a thesis usually changes by the time one finishes an essay, oftentimes the focus can change for the researcher as well. Sometimes, the main purpose of the project can prove to be either too specific or vague, so despite asking for help or branching out, information can still be hard to find. This does not necessarily mean that you are failing, but that there is a lack of information to make sense of for your particular focus. In that case, rethinking your focus can benefit yourself.

In my case, uncovering the names of volunteers from Mississauga who served in the Red River Rebellions can be hard to find. If that is the case, why not expand my interest towards the whole of the Peel region? Not only did my focus become more expanded, it allows for more room of discovery and optimism in the future.


By considering these tips, you should be able to salvage a project that seems like a lost cause, and turn it around to something that you can be excited about again


For more blogs by my classmates, click here http://sites.utm.utoronto.ca/historyinternships/blog