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The American Education Research Association invites proposals for the Education Research Service Projects (ERSP) program. This initiative aims to encourage education researchers to offer their professional expertise on a pro bono basis to educational organizations, institutions, or identifiable community groups in areas where research can matter. The ERSP program welcomes applications from education researchers who seek to provide research skills, knowledge, methods, and related services to educational entities that have specifically identified and expressed a need for such assistance.
The ambition of the ERSP program is to connect education research with educational needs prevalent in local communities. It is built on the premise that education research experts have a professional responsibility to serve and that AERA, as a research association, has a responsibility to encourage research scientists and scholars to take seriously this commitment. In contrast to the intermittent disasters or crises that might call attention nationally or internationally to a role for education research expertise, Education Research Service Projects aim to engender a culture of service that responds to deep and significant needs whether or not they receive high-profile public attention.
ERSP awards may be used only to defray the direct costs associated with research service, allowing education researchers to contribute their time and expertise and thereby to serve the public good. ERSP awards are not intended to include advocacy activity on behalf of the research entity.
Scope of Projects
ERSP projects may vary in the form, scope, and nature of the research expertise being provided. The type of activity undertaken must reflect the needs of the educational entity being served and the goals articulated by that group. ERSP initiatives could include conducting research or needs assessments about an issue affecting priorities within an educational organization or setting; establishing, analyzing, or examining an entity’s recordkeeping or database to enhance service delivery; designing, developing, or implementing an evaluation study of a newly instituted or planned set of organizational changes; undertaking surveys or focus groups to help with strategic planning; or providing research literature syntheses or briefings on a topic centrally relevant to the educational activities of the educational body.
ERSP projects are directed to providing research expertise to nonprofit organizations, institutions, or agencies in a community or communities with a mission that includes the education of individuals or groups at any level of education and in formal or informal settings or contexts of learning. Projects may be situated in one locale or in more than one setting, including outside the United States, as long as the issue can be addressed through research or technical research expertise and can feasibly be done within the parameters of this initiative.
ERSP projects are intended to be driven by the needs and goals of the educational entity and the likelihood that those needs could be met through the research services of a research expert. General enrichment activities that might benefit those in educational organizations or entities, such as providing research reading lists, giving lectures related to research, or offering workshops, are outside the scope of this initiative. Issues that are local and yet sufficiently salient to be of broader significance will be given priority so that the lessons learned or products produced in one setting may be applied in other, similar circumstances.
Grants will range from $1,000 to $5,000 to cover direct costs associated with the project. Education researchers are expected to volunteer their time and expertise for this research service activity. Funds can be used to defray research assistant expenses as may be necessary for ERSP projects. AERA expects awards to be administered through institutions, but does not reimburse indirect costs. Projects will typically be one year in duration from initiation of the activity through completion and reporting, even if much of the research or technical assistance happens during a more compressed period.
Education researcher grantees are encouraged to attend the AERA Annual Meeting to present their completed projects as part of a featured structured poster session. Grantees may also be asked to participate in fora or briefings to provide testimony on issues relevant to their ERSP projects and expertise. Information on funded projects will appear on the AERA website as part of the Association’s public communications featuring the ERSP initiative. The website will serve as the source and repository of information about ERSP projects, both to disseminate information about the work and to encourage others to pursue such projects in their own pro bono service.
Review Criteria for ERSP Proposals
A final report of the ERSP project, including any products and deliverables provided to the educational organization or entity and any background papers or presentations, must be submitted to the ERSP Program, AERA Central Office, at email@example.com within three months after the project completion date. The report should explicitly address tangible outcomes and dissemination activities. The report should also be accompanied by a brief statement from the educational entity as to how the education research project may have assisted, altered, or added to addressing its needs.
American Educational Research Association
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Washington, DC 20005
PH: (202) 238-3200
FAX: (202) 238-3250