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As a first-semester doctoral student in Leslie Beebe’s Linguistic Anthropology class, when the time came to start developing my final project, I had read seminal articles on language socialization, as well as more recent studies. I also had great data (20 months’ worth of video recordings of interaction between a child and her caregivers), but no direction in which to take it. As Leslie advised, I reviewed the video recordings to find excerpts that seemed superficially interesting to me, and then transcribed those instances in detail to determine why I had found them interesting in the first place. Again and again in office hours, she urged me to find the gap in the literature and to be clear about the story I wanted to tell with my data. Working with Leslie to narrow my focus led me to a work process that I have returned to time and again in subsequent projects. It is a process I am utilizing now as I analyze data for my dissertation. I will briefly present my findings from that earlier language socialization study below, and will conclude by examining how the experience of working on that project has shaped my subsequent work.