I have been working on the same stream of research on identity and video games over the last five years. My argument has been relatively consistent over the years, with a few flaws here and there as to be expected. Regardless, my goal has always been the same – to decentralize the concept of identity as a “result” or thing that belongs to the individual player and move towards thinking about identity as a process that occurs throughout game play instead. There is a lot more to it – of course – and you can read all about it when my dissertation is finished 😉
That being said, I have had a few side-streams of research over the years as well, mostly concerned with how people (young people, and often girls) integrate technology into their every day lives and discussing the pros and cons of the increasing use of web spaces (forums, blogs, university hosted sites etc) for university classes. Over the last year, while I have been thinking about the details of my dissertation, I have been working on these side projects (publication/conferences etc).
What has been worrying me is that it has been a year and a half since I presented at a conference, and it was not on my “primary” research. I have been becoming increasingly worried about my “professional” identity as a scholar of X or Y topic. Is this line of worry even necessary? Is it better to be known as a scholar of X topic or a scholar that researches a broader scope of issues that surround a particular topic or technology? I have many interests, and enjoy working on several things at once with different people, but my question is – does it damage my “professional” identity – do I even have one yet?! Perhaps it is a silly thing to worry about – but as I sit here working on conference papers and abstracts, I wonder how far from my ‘primary’ research is too far – or is that even a question to be asking myself/worried about?