Anaïs Kessler: research for research

laptop and mug on table

QC, Canada


While it may be much more fun to hit the ground running, it’s important to do necessary research before starting one’s own. My research project aims to research the question; how does multilingualism shape national and cultural identity? I’ll be conducting interviews of individuals who speak more than one language in Paris, Montreal and Manhattan.

My project will examine the complexities of identity and nationality, attempting to pinpoint the key indicators by which multilingualism shapes self-conception. In writing interview questions, I’ve tried to ask compelling questions that will allow me to pinpoint what these key indicators are.


As my research involves human subjects and collecting confidential information from these human subjects, much of this first month of the summer has been devoted to…. the IRB!

A lot of my time looks like this!

The IRB requires extreme thoroughness, and asks me to think about everything from how i’ll recruit my participants, where i’ll conduct interviews to the types of risks I’m asking my participants to take from taking part of this study. Luckily, my research project entails conducting interviews that are considered to be minimal riskso writing interview procedures, including consent forms in both French and English, hasn’t been awfully complicated.

Something I learned from the process of applying to the IRB was how difficult it is to ensure that information remains protected. Though the interviews aren’t considered to be “high risk” in nature, they still contain private information such as birth place and year, which should not be made public. Conducting interviews are in person and verbally, rather than, say, through an anonymous survey online does not allow for anonymity for the participant. By dis-associating the name of the interviewee from the information I obtain from the interview, for both storage and analysis purposes, I can however, ensure confidentiality.