Within SEERNet, we believe that practitioners need to play a central role in the research process, echoing the National Academies call that “research needs to begin in the field.” Since publishing Practitioners at the Center: Catalyzing Research on Problems of Practice in Realistic Settings, we’ve continued to think about how we will engage with practitioners, with an explicit focus on equity. We recognize that partnerships between practitioners and researchers often arise from particular kinds of districts, and there are some districts that are approached by researchers more often than others. As we’ve considered how to ensure that partnerships are not perpetuating some of the equity issues we see in the research field and instead are broadening participation within the education community, we’ve looked to Chicago Beyond’s guidebook, Why am I Always Being Researched? The guidebook’s premise resonates deeply with us and is aligned to the SEER standards: if evidence matters, we must care how it gets made. They outline seven inequities held in place by power, and seven opportunities for change. There is detailed advice for before, during, and after the study, customized for community organizations, researchers, and funders.
One piece of advice is to invest in relationships by building trust, sharing your agenda, and sharing your relevant experiences. How do you invest in relationships with those your research will impact? Join the discussion on Twitter and be sure to tag #SEERNet!