Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Need for Researchers on Adolescence to Come Together

The Journal of Research on Adolescence has a piece co-authored by Michael Conn, Ph.D.
Vice President, Research, Girl Scout Research Institute, about the need for researchers on adolescence to come together. The article illustrates that nonprofit research and evaluation is typically carried out in settings where real change is happening, which presents an opportunity for academics and nonprofit researchers to come together to do translational research that results in application and integration scholarship. Researchers in nonprofit youth organizations envision translational research operating in a two-way relationship: nonprofit researchers benefiting greatly from the conceptual substance and methodological rigor of the academic approach and academics gaining insights into relevant issues, access to settings and audiences, and away to influence practice by applying developmental science through collaborations with the nonprofit field.
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Now that research and evaluation have become prominent within nonprofit organizations, intellectual and institutional structures are developing that provide the basis for ongoing, productive collaboration among nonprofit and academic researchers.

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Girl Scouting underwent an intensive strategy development process during 2004 – 2006 and reaffirmed its nearly century-long commitment to promoting girl leadership development through its program and policy efforts. Coming out of this intensive process, Girl Scouting carefully identified 15 program outcomes linked to girl leadership development, based on a comprehensive review of the youth leadership, girl leadership, and positive youth development literature. One of the conclusions of this review was that a ‘‘gender lens’’ had not yet been applied sufficiently in the youth leadership research to understand specifically how girl leadership development can best occur. At various points in the process, academic researchers were also drawn in to comment and advise on the development of the program model, on the conceptual clarity of the outcomes and their connection to previous research,and on the age appropriateness of various indicators and measures.
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Definitely read the entire article for a thought provoking look into the state of collaborative research in the nonprofit world. You can purchase online access to this Article for a 24-hour period (price varies by title) here.
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Multidisciplinary and international in scope, the Journal of Research on Adolescence significantly advances knowledge in the field of adolescent research. Employing a diverse array of methodologies, this compelling journal publishes original research and integrative reviews of the highest level of scholarship. Featured studies include both quantitative and qualitative methodologies applied to cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development and behavior. Articles pertinent to the variety of developmental patterns inherent throughout adolescence are featured, including cross-national and cross-cultural studies. Attention is given to normative patterns of behavior as well as individual differences rooted in personal or social and cultural factors.