Goodbye to the long wait for the coveted impact!

Diana Rodríguez-Gómez

Sunday, March 27, 2022

The purpose of this blog is twofold. First, to enjoy writing that will not go through peer reviewers (no hard feelings, just thanks) and that goes beyond 140 characters—I still don’t understand, let alone enjoy, Twitter. Second, to bridge the gap between the initiation of research and the publication of its findings. 

This time I decided not to follow the linear research model (design >> data collection and analysis >> dissemination). In my short life as a researcher, my experiences in “return of findings” processes have been underwhelming to say the least. The deliveries of results to the communities I have worked with have been far from the idyllic and simple moments that some describe. Beyond considering any flaws in my personality (which are well probable 🤷🏻), I think there is a structural error in glorifying that encounter where researchers and participants are supposed to share an interest in discussing the findings. I sense that for some like me, that moment is exceptional. I have been told “thank you but for security reasons it is better not to make the results public”; they have left my messages on hold 😳; they have archived the reports I have delivered; and in the best of cases, after the presentation, they have asked me why I did not include the name of the organization despite the fact that the informed consent clarified institutions would not be named 🙄. 

To prevent such things from happening to me again, this time I decided that data collection and research impact would happen simultaneously. 🤬 Wait until the end to start talking about impact 🤬. In one of the schools selected for this study, I agreed to support the process of updating the Institutional Educational Project (PEI). In the other, I committed to adding a component to the study that would allow educators to understand how to prevent pushing students out of schoolt. I understand that for those who move in a positivist paradigm this decision may seem like a good way for the researcher to influence her findings. But in my constant aspiration for critical ethnography, this may be the way to make the research I do do something that matters.

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