Broadening the contexts in which educational research is conducted

Project: Research project

Project Details


In order to develop a research partnership system that will enhance the types of contexts available for conducting education research, we propose a three-pronged approach. First, we will recruit a group of 20 faculty members from non-elite institutions chosen to represent the diversity of American education with an emphasis on those that are currently underrepresented. This would include faculty from minority serving institutions, as well as institutions in underserved regions of the country. We have experience that suggests that we can successfully recruit the participants we seek. Once selected, these potential partners would attend a three-day workshop providing an overview of causal research designs (e.g., matching, comparative interrupted time series and randomized trials) in education, as well as education research methods focusing on issues like formulating research problems, evaluating the validity of research, research design, etc. Part of the goal is to provide training in research methods, but part of the goal is to familiarize the participants with what a project might entail, key concepts in research design, and the language used to talk about these things. This professional development is part instruction, part enculturation. Here again, we have experience leading such workshops that suggests that we can successfully train researchers from a broad variety of backgrounds in these methods (see next section). Second, over the course of the following year, these partners would take part in a field experience establishing a relationship with one or more schools in their local area, identifying ways research might be useful to them, and building trust. In a sense, this exercise is preparing the ground for potential research in these schools. During this period, participants would be in contact with us and our staff and other participants through a website designed to facilitate communication as they begin their engagement with schools. This website will allow researchers to begin developing a community. The final component would be a networking meeting in which a broad group of active researchers would be invited to meet the participants at a national meeting. This component would continue as an online networking component in which researchers could identify participants. Imagine an analogy to online dating: For example, researchers in Michigan looking for partners in the South to recruit and manage sites in Mississippi can discover a researcher in a college with contacts in local schools who are positively disposed to being part of a research project.
Effective start/end date1/1/2012/31/22


  • Spencer Foundation (202000182)


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