by Claire Miller
Stephen Elliott is a big proponent of collaborative, interdisciplinary work. Research and grant work can’t be done by one person alone, he argues.
At the Learning Sciences Institute (LSI) at Arizona State University, where Elliott serves as the director, faculty from departments across campus work together to generate and disseminate quality research.
“The idea behind the Learning Sciences Institute is to weave together as many people that have their finger on learning on one campus as possible,” said Elliott, who was the guest speaker at the College of Education’s April 13 Research Wednesdays. “Learning is an incredibly broad topic and it involves virtually every discipline on a campus. We want to foster the next generation of researchers and disseminate theory-driven, evidence-based research.”
The LSI has four main units – grant preparation, communication services, budget and contract work, and data, design and evaluation – that cater to faculty, staff and students’ research needs. These researchers are currently studying a number of areas, including professional development, teachers and schools, technology and innovation, and families and communities.
No matter what topic is addressed or how much funding is needed, Elliott believes that researchers should create an open dialogue with the community to not only inform them of current findings, but also to solicit and incorporate their ideas into current research projects.
“A huge part of research is dissemination and outreach,” he said. “A university’s knowledge base needs to be exported to everyone and we need to get people into the dialogue. And we need to reciprocate by listening to people’s needs and interests and have that influence the research enterprise. This way, there’s a mutually reciprocal interaction between research and outreach.”
The Research Wednesdays Speaker Series is designed to fulfill three goals: to provide a platform for explorations of new ways of conducting and disseminating educational research, to discuss new methods of mentoring doctoral students in an effort to enhance their development as researchers, and to fill a professional development need by providing access to cutting edge researchers at the state and national levels.
For more information about Elliott and the Research Wednesdays Speaker Series, visit http://education.gsu.edu/main/coe_events.htm.