Applicant GuidanceThese resources offer recommendations for applicants seeking to apply for a research or Scholars grant aligned with the Foundation’s focus area on reducing inequality.
- Proposing Research on Reducing Inequality: Is Your Study a Fit?
Jenny Irons, 2022
- Letters of Inquiry to Propose Research on Reducing Inequality: Identifying the Lever for Change
Jenny Irons, 2018 (updated 2022)
Recommended ReadingThe following resources address three critical considerations in proposals for research on reducing inequality: 1) rich conceptualizations of what it means to reduce inequality, 2) robust methods for studying efforts to reduce inequality, and 3) research agendas that propose ways to reduce inequality. We encourage you to read the resources below and consider the research agendas outlined as you develop a proposal.
Conceptualizing Reducing Inequality
- Shifting the Lens: Why Conceptualization Matters in Research on Reducing Inequality
Jenny Irons, 2019This essay describes how strong conceptualizations of inequality can inform subsequent efforts to identify and study appropriate strategies for reducing inequality. Irons offers specific examples of how grantees have employed rich conceptualizations of inequality to inform their own studies, and outlines considerations for researchers to attend to as they propose their own efforts to develop, test, or inform strategies to reduce inequality.
- Inequality is the Problem: Prioritizing Research on Reducing Inequality
Adam Gamoran, 2014 (from the 2013 Annual Report)This essay describes the Foundation’s approach to supporting research on reducing inequality. Grounded in a discussion of educational inequality, Gamoran’s essay offers new approaches to thinking about inequality, identifies key leverage points for reducing inequality, and examines the potential for research to inform effective responses to inequality.
- Inequality and Opportunity: The Role of Exclusion, Social Capital, and Generic Social Processes in Upward Mobility
Linda Burton and Whitney Welsh, 2015This commissioned paper examines the micro-level social processes that contribute to the social exclusion of disadvantaged racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups and offers insight into the ways that context can disrupt the effects of these processes. Burton and Welsh conclude with research and policy recommendations for strengthening social capital and social mobility among the poor that take these social processes into consideration
- Inequality Matters
Prudence Carter and Sean Reardon, 2014This commissioned paper synthesizes existing research on social inequality in the socioeconomic, health, political, and sociocultural domains. Carter and Reardon also offer a detailed conceptualization of what they mean by inequality. The paper concludes with a discussion of key gaps in the literature on inequality and ways to reduce inequality.
- Forum: From Understanding Inequality to Reducing Inequality
2021Exploring ways for social scientists to move beyond describing and quantifying the problem of inequality—and to focus instead on ways to reduce it—this virtual forum features two panels of inequality scholars discussing pathways through which research may lead to large-scale social change.
- Opening the Black Box: Overcoming Obstacles to Studying Causal Mechanisms in Research on Reducing Inequality
Margarita Alegría and Isabel Shaheen O’Malley, 2022This essay summarizes the necessary trade-offs and inherent tensions of research on causal mechanisms and discusses challenges and opportunities for future studies.
Methods and Measurement
- Harnessing Discovery: Writing a Strong Mixed-Methods Proposal
Eli Lieber, 2016This essay offers specific guidance for researchers proposing mixed-methods studies, identifying four key elements of high-quality mixed-methods proposals.
- Identifying Responses to Inequality: The Potential of Qualitative and Mixed-Methods Research
Vivian Louie, 2016This essay, designed to be useful to all applicants regardless of their methodological approach, describes the value of qualitative and mixed-method approaches for studies on reducing inequality.
Research Agendas for Reducing Inequality
- Special Collection: Sociology’s Role in Responding to Inequality This special collection, edited by Adam Gamoran, considers the contributions of sociology and the social sciences broadly, and points toward the potential for our research to do more to advance change and illuminate ways to respond to the challenge of inequality.
- What is the Role for Social Science in Reducing Inequality? Four New Critiques Offering new perspectives on ways that the social sciences can drive action and address large-scale social change, a new set of commentaries on the Socius special collection outlines potential strategies including remaking research tools, incorporating theory and social-political contexts, learning from scholarship across disciplines and policy areas, and building a social science of radical reform. In this webinar, special collection authors and commentary writers consider the state of the field and identify ways for sociology to move from understanding the problem of inequality to illuminating responses.
- Can Policy Interventions Reduce Inequality? Looking Beyond Test Scores for Evidence
Richard Murnane, 2021In this essay, Murnane uses evidence from three studies to show that, as a nation, we have learned a lot about what it takes to reduce race-based inequalities. Murnane also shows that the primary public policy strategies for reducing race-based inequalities and for measuring progress are inconsistent with the evidence from these recent studies.
- The 21st Century Agenda for Research on Child Welfare and our Interest in Studies on Reducing Inequality
Adam Gamoran and Lauren Supplee, 2022The result of close collaboration with Casey Family Programs and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, as well as numerous national organizations, researchers, and individuals with lived experience in child welfare, the 21st century research agenda for child welfare captures the diversity of individuals involved in the child welfare system to highlight the most urgent needs. This post discusses the research agenda in the context of the Foundation’s interest in supporting studies on reducing inequality.
- Disparities in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Mental Health Services in the U.S.
Margarita Alegría, Jennifer Greif Green, Katie A. McLaughlin, and Stephen Loder, 2015This commissioned paper explores specific mechanisms driving disparities in mental health outcomes for minority children and adolescents, as well as protective factors and barriers to mental health care. The authors detail a research agenda for future studies to respond to mental health inequalities among youth.
- A New Agenda for Eliminating Racial Inequality in the United States: The research we Need
William Darity, Jr., 2019This essay puts forth a new frame for understanding and confronting racial inequalities. Darity discusses the structural roots of racial disadvantage and consequences of generations of anti-Black discriminatory policies. This essay also outlines a research agenda focused on specific policy responses to racial inequalities.
- The Future of Educational Inequality in the United States:What Went Wrong, and How Can We Fix It?
Adam Gamoran, 2015This essay presents an analysis of trends driving inequalities in the education system. Gamoran outlines an agenda for future research on efforts to reduce inequalities in educational outcomes.
- Understanding Inequality and the Justice System Response: Charting a New Way Forward
John Laub, 2014This commissioned paper offers an overview of existing research on crime, victimization, and the justice system response and describes the inequalities that exist prior to and emerge from justice system involvement. Building upon this discussion, Laub outlines a research agenda for future research on reducing inequality in justice outcomes for youth.
- Research to Improve Outcomes for English Learners
Vivian Louie, 2017This essay describes how the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) offers an opportunity to improve academic outcomes for English learners. Louie examines specific research questions and data needs related to ESSA’s implementation that have the potential to improve English learners’ academic outcomes.
- The New Forgotten Half and Research Directions to Support Them
James Rosenbaum, Caitlin Ahearn, Kelly Becker, and Janet Rosenbaum, 2015This commissioned paper outlines key issues and new directions for research to improve the outcomes of youth who enter college but fail to complete a credential.
- Once More from the Top: Examining Macro-Social Structures of Inequality to Improve Youth Outcomes
Timothy M. Smeeding, 2018This essay discusses the need for research to identify and develop ways to address macro-social structures that form the basis of existing inequalities. Smeeding also outlines a research agenda for identifying policy solutions that can disrupt the foundations of inequality and improve outcomes for youth.
- Intersecting Inequalities: Research to Reduce Inequality for Immigrant-Origin Children and Youth
Carola Suárez-Orozco, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, and Vivian Tseng, 2015This commissioned paper explores six drivers of inequality for immigrant-origin children and youth and considers how school and family contexts might facilitate efforts to improve outcomes for immigrant-origin youth. The authors also outline relevant areas for future research to reduce immigration-related inequality.
- Disrupted Lives: The Forceful Displacement of Refugee Children and New Directions for Research
Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, 2017In this interview, Suárez-Orozco draws from themes from recent research on immigrant and refugee youth to outline a research agenda for ways to reduce inequalities in outcomes for immigrant and refugee youth across a range of policy domains.
- Research on Reducing Inequality: Why Programs and Practices Matter, Even in an Unequal Society
David Yeager, 2019In this essay, Yeager draws upon insights from his research on mindset interventions to reduce inequality in order to respond to critiques that studies of programs and practices to reduce inequality do not address the underlying contexts in which these inequalities exist.
What We’re Reading
- Qualitative Literacy A Guide to Evaluating Ethnographic and Interview Research Mario Luis Small and Jessica McCrory Calarco, 2022
- Powered Down: The Microfoundations of Organizational Attempts to Redistribute Power Amanda Barrett Cox, 2021
- Research-Practice Partnerships in Pursuit of Social Justice: Navigating a Hostile Sociopolitical Climate Adriana Villavicencio, Dana Conlin, and Olga Pagan, 2023
- Reducing Racial Inequality in Crime and Justice Committee on Reducing Racial Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System, 2022