Towards Democratizing Evidence: Assessing Engagement of Community-Based Groups in Research/Practice Partnerships

What are promising strategies for engaging community-based groups in research partnerships to promote the use of research evidence in educational decision making?

Lit and colleagues posit that evidence-based, democratic decision making involves engaging the communities impacted in developing research questions, conducting relevant research, and decision-making processes. Through a collaboration between the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, and the National Education Policy Center, the research team will develop a working paper that offers a conceptual framework for how community-based group involvement in research-practice partnerships (RPPs) and research-community partnerships (RCPs) can increase the use of evidence in decision making. The paper will describe how communities are involved in RPPs and RCPs, the latter of which are defined as partnerships between grassroots community organizations and research institutions that pursue research agendas focused on increasing equity and justice in education. The team will develop a conceptual framework that draws from the existing literature on RPPs, RCPs, public scholarship, research use, knowledge utilization, and social psychology. They will also survey partnerships engaging in formal and informal community engagement efforts in their research and decision making and interview research and community leaders to generate profiles of promising sites. The paper will offer recommendations for practitioners and researchers seeking to engage community-based groups in educational research and decision making and discuss the implications for the use of research evidence in education practice.

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