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Start with a Local School System

Posted on February 15, 2006

Robert C. Pianta (bio) shares some tips for beginning research in a school setting.


For new investigators in the field who might want to do research in school settings, very often times I would recommend to them that they would do a couple of possible things. One would be form a smaller partnership in the local school system with which you're working, and be careful because a lot of school systems around universities are saturated with research, so you need to maybe go to the next ring outside of that ring to find a place that can easily accommodate you. Work up your protocol in that context. Pilot it so that you have a sense of what it is that you're going to ask someone when you want to go to a larger scale.

When you're ready to go to a larger scale, district-wide, state-wide, regionally, then I think the important thing is to start looking for possible senior investigators who have links to the state-level or regional people. Often times, I work in a school of education, but psychology departments and human development programs have these, which is a sort of a senior dean, the associate dean for research. Those kinds of people should be able to help provide you access to the folks in the field that you need to be able to partner with to do the kind of work you want to do.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher in April 2005.


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