Vision

I-SEEC Change

The vision driving the Carter Thought Lab is I-SEEC Change (Innovative-Studies for Engaging Educational Community Change). The I-SEEC Change vision involves plans for comprehensive interpretive research-based initiatives that center marginalized youth in order to develop

  • “a strong sense of belonging and caring [for marginalized individuals and communities],
  • timely access to relevant information [about marginalized individuals and communities],
  • the ability to understand that information,
  • and the motivation, opportunity and skills to take sustainable action on a range of [curriculum, teaching and learning] issues throughout their lives”

(Knight Foundation, 2013).

The I-SEEC Change vision embraces fourteen (14) research priorities toward sustainable progress in the lives of marginalized individuals and communities in North Carolina, the region, the U.S. and abroad. At any given time, the Director envisions: one or more of the following topics may be studied by our research team(s) through either the “qualitative meta-synthesis research cycle” or the “qualitative & collaborative methods research cycle.”

  1. Campus Equity, Diversity, Connectedness and Interdependence Issues
  2. STEM and the Schooling vs. Education of Black Americans and the Black Diaspora
  3. Influence(s) of Disproportionality in Special/Gifted Education on Black, Latino and Impoverished Individuals and Communities
  4. Influence(s) of Disproportionality in School Disciplinary Actions on the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Black, Latino and Impoverished Individuals and Communities
  5. Bullying, Harassment, Homophobia and the Right to Safe Learning Zones
  6. Desegregation and Resegregation in K-16 School Communities
  7. Implicit Association Bias among Educators, Educational Outcomes, and the Potential of Anti-Bias Interventions
  8. Influence(s) of Child Hunger and Limited Access to Clean Water on Educational Outcomes
  9. Influence(s) of Corporal Punishment (at home; and at school) on Educational Outcomes
  10. The Pitfalls and Promise of an integrated curriculum (e.g., Dentistry Education teaching and learning experiences shared among prospective dentists and hygienists)
  11. Critical Examination of Qualitative Methods, Methodology and Collaborative Methods in/as Educational Research
  12. Health Disparities in Marginalized School Communities
  13. Exploring Geographies of Opportunity via GIS
  14. Eco-Justice Education, Environmental Racism and the Participation of Marginalized Peoples in the Geosciences

Envisioning Future Carter Thought Lab Research Cycles

The Carter Thought Lab’s envisioned approach to innovation and improvement starts with the notion that researchers should be based in local communities engaged in participatory qualitative research to develop changes that fit the circumstances. From these community engagements, lab teams then synthesize innovative practices that are both contextually dependent and nationally transferable. The work of the Carter Thought Lab is to help organize, conceptualize and link local community engagement research projects across the country–a vision of scaling out to provide local communities with research-based tools necessary for them to lead highly informed co-constructed attempts at scaling up.

Envisioned Cycle #1: Qualitative Meta-Synthesis Research

The research cycle begins with the meta-syntheses of relevant and credible participatory qualitative studies, supports related engaged research projects nationally, and ends with a novel dissemination process. The attention to disseminating research is particularly important, because dissemination is “a system that has never worked” (Noblit, G. 2013, personal communication) for at least two reasons. First, with the research to practice gap, research must itself be transformed into practice before widespread dissemination occurs. There has been very limited success with this approach. Our signature research vision is designed to be very close to practice, thereby eliminating the research to practice to dissemination gap from its inception. Second, dissemination has taken the form of research “reports” or “what works” websites rather than forms that incite the popular imagination. Five cyclical processes are envisioned for the Carter Thought Lab’s I-SEEC Change project:

  1. Conducting meta-synthesis of the pertinent literature; these syntheses can be fed into the participatory research teams, so they don’t have to recreate the wheel and can move to increasingly innovative work in their local spaces .
  2. Sharing meta-syntheses with our AESA- and AERA-based networks of researchers (to enable cutting edge studies that are relevant to the changes their local communities seek); teams of researchers will fund their own research.
  3. Supporting and sponsoring our AESA- and AERA-based networks of qualitative researchers working on aspects of the signature projects.
  4. Developing second-level syntheses by having studies from our national research network brought back to the Carter Thought Lab, where Lab faculty and staff begin working with the research teams to develop syntheses that are contextually dependent and nationally transferable; the transferability part of the cycle to crucial to creating a nationwide scholarly consensus on research findings.
  5. Disseminating research using three particular innovative dissemination strategies: (a) digital storytelling (e.g., work of Dr. Sherick Hughes); (b) detournement (e.g., work of Dr. Jim Trier)—two multimedia products that lay out the complexities of change while addressing the forces opposing innovation; and (c) memes (e.g., work of Dr. George Noblit and Dr. Jim Trier)—a mechanism for carrying ideas and practices that can be communicated across broad cultural arenas through innovative digital media designed to ‘go viral.’

The cycle could then be repeated and marketed via dissemination. New projects could be identified in the process, enabling us to market the cycle to funding agents who want to promote innovation.

Envisioned Cycle #2: Qualitative and Collaborative Methods Research

  1. Finding a phenomenon of interest (e.g., locating the lived experience to confront, complicate, and unpack)
  2. Linking that phenomenon of interest to a critical review (offer a relevant critical review of the literature related to your phenomenon of interest
  3. Constructing a theoretical framework One theoretical framework works with “formal” theory, while the other requires students to work with”substantive theory.”
  4. Constructing a conceptual framework or “tentative theory” of the concepts and constructs related to the phenomenon of interest (if relevant), which can draw from (a) a critical review of the literature, (b) pilot study data and/or (c) experiential data
  5. Research Design Research should build from either the theoretical framework or conceptual framework.
  6. Conducting research When conducting research, researchers tend to be largely available for assisting students
  7. Disseminating research as noted above will involve using three particular innovative dissemination strategies: (1) digital storytelling (led by Dr. Sherick Hughes); (2) detournement (e.g., work of Dr. Jim Trier)—two multimedia products that lay out the complexities of change while addressing the forces opposing innovation; and (3) memes (e.g., work of Dr. George Noblit and Dr. Jim Trier)—a mechanism for carrying ideas and practices that can be communicated across broad cultural arenas through innovative digital media designed to ‘go viral.’

This cycle could then be repeated and marketed via dissemination. New projects could be identified in the process, enabling us to market the cycle to funding agents who want to promote innovation.

Concluding Thoughts

The I-SEEC Change vision provides a way to develop the systems necessary to implement the above cycles in a most effective manner. The Director fully expects that the lab can market particular studies and/or change interests to funding agents. Once the lab demonstrates what the cycles produce, it can then market the cycles to those who wish to develop educational innovations that engage researchers and local communities in more meaningful and sustainable collaborations nationwide. Such collaboration is crucial to gathering and disseminating useful data from credible sources, and to use such data—not packaged curricula or sound bites from politicians—to drive decisions about how to engage communities in sound and sustainable change. More innovative research, particularly interpretive qualitative methodology and collaborative methods studies are necessary to explore what we know and how we come to know about marginalized students’ experiences and promising practical prevention and intervention strategies to decrease marginalization in school communities. Such interpretive research would fill key gaps in knowledge and innovation in this area. Moreover, policymakers and practitioners could be encouraged to support change when  the lab’s evidence-based interpretive research demonstrates how all of our interests converge at the intersections of education and marginalization, equity and excellence, diversity and democracy, tradition and transition.