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1 - What Can Researchers, Philanthropies, and Practitioner-Educators Do to Democratize Evidence in Education?

Sun, April 7, 3:40 to 5:10pm, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Floor: 100 Level, Room 104A

Session Type: Invited Speaker Session

Abstract

An enduring challenge for education research is for research itself to become democratic -- that is, to foster goals of inclusion, dialogue, and deliberation through the activities of research (House & Howe, 2000; Tseng, Fleishman, & Quintero, 2018). Emerging forms of collaborative research and development show promise toward realizing this ideal, through efforts to create more equitable engagements among researchers, educators, families, and community members. This work occurs across education research in various forms or under different names, such as research-practice partnerships, community-based research, participatory action research, design research, research alliances, and engaged scholarship.

Broadly, these forms of collaborative research have many similarities. They share a commitment to centering the voices and perspectives of multiple stakeholders in education. They involve a systematic form of inquiry to understand problems and co-define possible solutions. They can also encourage the participation of those groups who have been historically or politically disenfranchised to enrich and expand the available knowledge base. All of these approaches stand in contrast to forms of research in which education stakeholders have little opportunity to define the focus of research or contribute in interpreting and making sense of findings for local needs.

Together, these approaches represent possible ways of democratizing the research enterprise through more equitable distributions of power, greater attention to diverse needs and questions, and a broader appreciation for the value of different kinds of knowledge and expertise. Yet, too often, the conversations of these traditions are disconnected from one another. The purpose of this session is to actively engage the AERA audience in a dialogue about a vision for democratization of evidence and explore their meaning to the research community moving forward in this post-truth era of civic activity.

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