Go Gig or Go Home

The process of writing my research paper was definitely more challenging than expected.  The most formidable obstacle I faced was getting out of the traditional economics essay mentality that I have become so fixed upon.  Having studied in the UK for the last two years under an education system that permitted taking only classes within my major, I am used to writing essays in a very specific structure and style.  Unfortunately for this circumstance, two of the fundamental characteristics of that style are terse sentences and adherence to a very limited word count.  Now that my Monroe project allows many more pages to fill, I have found difficulty expanding on subtopics much more than I am accustomed to, while still maintaining concise ideas.  After all, it is still an economics paper so presenting my results as efficiently and effectively as possible is of paramount importance.

Another struggle I faced while writing was choosing appropriate sources to incorporate.  In the past, my professors have always been adamant about only using articles that had been published in academic or professional journals.  However, given the continued development of the gig economy and that part of my essay touches on ethical concerns, I wanted to use some newspaper anecdotes as sources about recent protests, developments, and employee experiences.  I did not think my research paper was conducive to utilizing strictly journal articles because the inclusion of perspectives from the media and working class individuals who could not get ideas printed in a prestigious publication is key to understanding the full scope of the gig economy.  I reached out to my faculty advisor who assured me that given the context, anecdotes from news sources would be acceptable as long as my economic theory and empirical evidence is supported by journals and books.

Finally, while cross-examining my sources to support my research, I found that some authors based their claims on a different interpretation of the gig economy.  Most economic specialists now define gig work as tasks individuals are hired through a digital platform to perform on-demand.  However, some journalists consider the gig economy synonymous with all contingent work, including part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers, many of whom do not exploit technology as part of their labor efforts.  Consequently, I could not use all the sources I originally annotated in my later drafts.  Nevertheless, checking the validity and consistency of my sources helped me really narrow down my ideas to produce a more cohesive final product.