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Workshop: Organizing and Managing a Research Project, Wednesday, February 10, 2016

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Organizing and Managing a Research Project
BCTR staff

Wednesday, February 10, 2016
1:30 - 2:30 PM
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room

Have you joined a research team or are you gathering data for your own research project? Come learn about and discuss tips and tricks for organizing and managing information about your project. From tracking recruitment and eligibility to setting up a database to documenting data cleaning and analysis steps, managing a research project is more than just collecting and analyzing data. Experienced BCTR staff will present management strategies, discuss lessons learned, and answer questions about your project.

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Youth research updates on gossip, children of prisoners, and minority participation in STEM


Group discussion at the 2015 YDRU

Group discussion at the 2015 YDRU

The BCTR's annual Youth Development Research Update (YDRU) brings together 4-H educators, Cornell Cooperative Extension county leaders, and others in New York State affiliated with youth programs with Cornell researchers. At this year's YDRU, held in early June,  researchers presented on gossip and aggression, the effects of parental incarceration on children, racial and ethnic minority youth engagement in STEM, and the influence of class on cohabitation choices. Jutta Dotterweich (director of training and technical assistance, ACT for Youth Project) and Stephen Hamilton organized the event.

In a Cornell Chronicle article, Jacqueline Davis-Manigaulte ’72, a Cornell Cooperative Extension-New York City senior extension associate, describes the importance of the YDRU,

This event allows us to hear about the latest Cornell faculty research on youth development. But what I really enjoy is the powerful connections we make with faculty members who see the value in working with us on projects. It gives us a direct line to potential partners.

In addition to talks by researchers, the YDRU features group discussions and unstructured time for participants to talk. Giving these generally institutionally separated groups access to each other allows for discussions leading to stronger, more relevant research and more effective, evidence-based programming for youth.

This year's presentations were:

  • Steven E. Alvarado (Sociology): Racial and Ethnic Minorities in STEM: Challenges and Opportunities for Advancement
  • Anna R. Haskins (Sociology): Paternal Incarceration and Children's Early Educational Outcomes
  • Sharon Sassler (Policy Analysis and Management): Social Class Differences in Relationship Processes and the Entry into Cohabitation
  • Dawn E. Schrader (Communication): Everybody Talks: Forms and Functions of Gossip and Talk in Adolescent Female Social Aggression


Talks connect faculty, youth-focused extension partners - Cornell Chronicle

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Anna Haskins    CCE    Jutta Dotterweich    media mention    research    Stephen Hamilton    youth    Youth Development Research Update   

Research Synthesis Project releases first sytematic translational reviews


The BCTR Research Synthesis Project released its first two systematic translational reviews (STRs) this spring. The first identified validated measures of youth nutrition program outcomes, and the second examined the concept of “engagement” in university-community partnerships. These two STRs are the result of a new research synthesis protocol designed to include practitioner input in the review process while maintaining the structure of a systematic review and speed of a rapid review. The method was developed by Research Synthesis Project director Mary Maley to improve the accessibility and use of research evidence by community practitioners and policy makers. Review topics focus on applied practice questions which require a synopsis of evidence to use in order to strengthen program implementation. More about the STR process can be found here.

Psycho-Social Evaluation Measures for 8-12 year-olds in Nutrition Education Programs explores the question, "Which validated surveys measure changes in nutrition knowledge, attitudes, behavioral intent and self-efficacy among 8-12-year-olds in nutrition education programs?" The reviewers found that there wasn't a singular measure to recommend across programs, but that practitioners should select the best fit for their program from the identified validated measures.

The second STR considers, "How is “Community Engagement” described and operationalized in practice?" Community Engagement in Practice concludes that empirical literature does "not reflect a consistent meaning of the term, or the activities associated with it," but suggests ways that both program practitioners and researchers can address and remedy this ambiguity.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Mary Maley    nutrition    research    Research Synthesis Project    systematic translational reviews   

Overcoming older African Americans’ reluctance to participate as research subjects

(0) Comments  |   Tags: African Americans,   aging,   article,   Karl Pillemer,   research,  

Myra Sabir, Assistant Professor of Human DevelopmentMyra Sabir, former Bronfenbrenner Life Course Center postdoctoral fellow and assistant director, is the primary author of a recent article in The Journal of Aging Studies on the difficulties of recruiting older African Americans as research subjects. The BCTR's Karl Pillemer is co-author.

The paper's abstract:

Well-known trust-building methods are routinely used to recruit and retain older African Americans into scientific research studies, yet the quandary over how to overcome this group's hesitance to participate in research remains. We present two innovative and testable methods for resolving the dilemma around increasing older African Americans' participation in scientific research studies. Certain specific and meaningful experiential similarities between the primary researcher and the participants, as well as clear recognition of the elders' worth and dignity, improved older African Americans' willingness to adhere to a rigorous research design. Steps taken in an intervention study produced a potentially replicable strategy for achieving strong results in recruitment, retention and engagement of this population over three waves of assessment. Sixty-two (n = 62) older African Americans were randomized to treatment and control conditions of a reminiscence intervention. Sensitivity to an African American cultural form of respect for elders (recognition of worth and dignity), and intersections between the lived experience of the researcher and participants helped dispel this population's well-documented distrust of scientific research. Results suggest that intentional efforts to honor the worth and dignity of elders through high level hospitality and highlighting meaningful experiential similarities between the researcher and the participants can improve recruitment and retention results. Experiential similarities, in particular, may prove more useful to recruitment and retention than structural similarities such as age, race, or gender, which may not in themselves result in the trust experiential similarities elicit.

An intensely sympathetic awareness: Experiential similarity and cultural norms as means for gaining older African Americans' trust of scientific research - Journal of Aging Studies

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BCTR produces series of videos on aspects of youth development

(0) Comments  |   Tags: Anthony Burrow,   research,   Travis Park,   video,   youth,  

Each year the Youth Development Research Update brings practitioners and researchers together to explore how practitioners can use research findings to benefit young people and to identify questions emerging from the field that researchers have not yet explored.

Following the 2012 Youth Development Research Update, the BCTR produced a series of short video interviews with two of the event speakers. This may an ongoing series, produced after each year's Youth Development Research Update.

Anthony Burrow, Assistant Professor of Human Development, presented research on the significance of developing positive identities and a meaningful sense of direction during adolescence and young adulthood. The short video topics are:

What is Purpose?
How Can a Sense of Purpose be Fostered?
Purpose for Youth Coping with Challenges

Multiple Paths to Purpose

Travis Park, Associate Professor and Director of the Cornell Teacher Education Program, presented research related to disciplinary literacy in formal education, specifically agriculture and career and technical education. The short video topics are:

What is Literacy?
The Focus in Formal Education
Strategies for Literacy Education
Improving Literacy in Informal Youth Settings

(2) Comments.  |   Tags: Anthony Burrow    research    Travis Park    video    youth   

Video of Wethington and Dunifon”Chats in the Stacks” now online

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On September 27, 2012, Elaine Wethington and Rachel Dunifon delivered a "Chats in the Stacks" talk at Mann Library about their book, Research for the Public Good: Applying Methods of Translational Research to Improve Human Health and Well-being. The video from the talk is now online and is being featured by Cornell Cast this week.

The book, which includes chapters by presenters from the 2009 Bronfenbrenner Conference, demonstrates how emerging methods of translational research can be applied to important topics of interest to social and behavioral scientists.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: book    Elaine Wethington    Rachel Dunifon    research    talk    video   

BCTR at “The Future of Action and Engaged Research” CU search conference

(0) Comments  |   Tags: conference,   Elaine Wethington,   Jennifer Tiffany,   research,   Stephen Hamilton,  

Small group discussion at the conference

On September 8 and 9, BCTR's Elaine Wethington and Jennifer Tiffany participated in a search conference on engaged learning and action research at Cornell that brought together over thirty faculty and staff from across the university. Davydd Greenwood (Anthropology) and Richard Feldman (Language Resource Center) facilitated the two-day collaborative reflection, planning, and action design process. Stephen Hamilton, Neema Kudva, Becky Stoltzfus, Ray Craib, Melanie Dreyer-Lude, Richard Kiely, Sofía Villenas, and Leonardo Vargas Méndez were members of the conference planning committee.

Search conferences are a widely used participatory method for engaging people with diverse perspectives in shaping actions that can create the future conditions and relationships that they identify as preferable to the “probable future” that would emerge without their deliberate and carefully planned intervention. The conference started with participants constructing a detailed history of action research and engaged learning at Cornell and concluded with formation of action groups. Processes designed by Kurt Lewin, as well as Davydd Greenwood and other action researchers, were used to facilitate in-depth planning.

Elaine Wethington’s and Jennifer Tiffany’s contributions to the search conference built on the BCTR’s focus on bi-directional translational research; expertise in how federal funding initiatives and human participant protections relate to outreach and equitable community relationships; commitment to fostering student and faculty expertise in partnering with communities; and its key role in College of Human Ecology and Cornell Cooperative Extension outreach and extension efforts.

Brainstorming at the conference

The conference was titled The Future of Action and Engaged Research at Cornell University - A Search Conference. Schools, offices, centers, programs, institutes, and academic departments represented were Academic Diversity Initiatives, Africana Studies & Research Center, American Indian Program, Anthropology, Asian American Studies Program, City and Regional Planning, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Classics, Comparative Literature, Design and Environmental Analysis, Development Sociology, Center for Community Engaged Learning & Research, Engineering, Environmental & Indigenous Studies, Farmworker Program, History, Human Development, Knight Institute for Writing, Landscape Architecture, Language Resource Center, Law School, Mann Library, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Mediterranean Studies Initiative, Natural Resources, Near Eastern Studies, Nutritional Sciences, Office of Sustainability, Performing & Media Arts, Public Service Center, Residential Life, Science & Technology Studies, Southeast Asia Studies, Tompkins County Extension, Vet School, and William Keeton House.


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Community input in the formation of Rachel Dunifon’s Role of Grandparents study


Rachel Dunifon’s research program, The Role of Grandparents in the Lives of Adolescent Grandchildren, would not have come about if it weren’t for the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Educators with whom she works in her parenting program. They are the ones who made Dr. Dunifon aware of the prevalence of grandparent-headed households, who told compelling stories about the families in their communities who are in this situation, and who made her realize what a rich area this would be for research. Based on the knowledge Dunifon gained from the field, she embarked on a multi-year research project, funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, on grandparents raising grandchildren. Dunifon worked with CCE and other community educators to develop the research questions, to bring together focus groups to increase her knowledge of the issues facing such families, to pilot test study instruments, and to recruit participants in the study. The interviews took place in CCE offices throughout the state. The cycle is ongoing as Dunifon is producing a series of fact sheets based on the results of her research, which can be used by educators in their work with families in which grandparents are raising grandchildren.

Receiving input from practitioners and community members to inform research is a crucial step in practicing translational research to insure the studies done are relevant in community settings. As shown by this example, connecting with community educators can raise awareness among researchers about important and relevant issues. The resulting research is then easily translated back into resources useful to the community, as it was developed based on community input from the start.

The fact sheets from this research can be found on this page.


20th Annual NDACAN Summer Research Institute supports secondary analysis projects

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The National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect hosted its 20th annual Summer Research Institute from June 11-15 on the Cornell Ithaca campus. The Summer Research Institute provides a week-long opportunity for child maltreatment researchers to spend extended time working on their own research projects in a supportive and collaborative atmosphere. All the projects are based on research proposals to use child maltreatment datasets that are distributed by the Archive. Throughout the Institute, Archive staff, statistical consultants, and fellow participants are all available to provide help as questions or other needs arise. The ultimate goals of the Summer Research Institute are to facilitate original research that will result in valuable contributions to the scientific literature and to promote inter-university and cross-disciplinary collaborations within the child maltreatment research community.

An impressive group of 16 researchers representing the fields of social work, medicine, developmental psychology, and sociology were invited to attend this year. Participants were selected through a competitive process based on the clarity and quality of their research proposals and the likelihood of publication. This year’s Institute took place in a state-of-the-art computing facility within the new Human Ecology Building with IT support provided by the Human Ecology Computing Services Group. Special assistance was provided by Chris Wiesen, Statistical Analyst from the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at UNC Chapel Hill and Francoise Vermeylen, Director of the Cornell Statistical Consulting Unit.

The next Summer Research Institute will be held June 10-14, 2013.

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2012 Youth Development Research Update gathers practitioners and researchers

(0) Comments  |   Tags: research,   Stephen Hamilton,   Valerie Adams,   youth,   Youth Development Research Update,  

The 2012 Youth Development Research Update was held June 5-6 at La Tourelle, Ithaca. The 48 attendees were from Cornell, youth service agencies (e.g. adolescent pregnancy prevention providers and youth bureaus), extension educators (4-H, parent education from 19 counties). Practitioners in attendance were very excited to have direct access to researchers. One researcher made a connection with a practitioner that will lead to a research project testing an intervention in the field.

The speakers:

  • Opening Remarks - Valerie N. Adams
  • Engaging Youth in Disciplinary Literacy: How Can We "Extend" Authentic, Relevant Learning? - Travis D. Park
  • Purpose as an Asset for Youth Development - Anthony L. Burrow
  • Puberty: Individual Differences and Emotional Development - Jane E. Mendle
  • Bullies and Their Bullying: Who Are They and Can We Stop Them? - Ritch C. Savin-Williams
  • Youths' and Families' Cultural and Political Knowledge: A Human Rights Perspective - Sofia A. Villenas

Throughout the event, several roundtable discussions allowed time to focus on application and implementation issues.

Valerie Adams, Stephen Hamilton, and Jackie Davis-Manigaulte

Each year the Youth Development Research Update brings practitioners and researchers together for a day and a half in Ithaca, New York. In addition to presentations on specific areas of research, the Research Update offers participants the opportunity to explore two questions: How can practitioners use research findings to benefit young people? Which questions emerge from the field that researchers have not explored and need to address?

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: research    Stephen Hamilton    Valerie Adams    youth    Youth Development Research Update