ERIC Number: ED329325
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Sep
Research may be divided into two types, "empowering" research and "academic" research. Empowering research seeks to determine how a particular individual or organization can produce a desired result, while academic research is concerned with why a particular condition exists. While academic research might ask "Why do students drop out of school?" empowering research asks "How can a student be enabled to persist?" In addition, academic research attempts to be objective, while empowering research is admittedly and necessarily subjective. Empowering research involves the assumption of responsibility. For example, a college which seeks to reduce student attrition can empower itself to do so by assuming responsibility for student dropout. Both academic and empowering research may examine issues at two different levels: at the student (individual) level and at the institutional (system) level. In the case of student dropout research, research at the individual level is concerned with the student's choice to persist or drop out, while research at the organizational level is concerned with the college's attrition rate. For the most part, the research literature on dropouts has consisted exclusively of academic explanations at the individual level. Thus, many studies have left the impression that little can be done by colleges to retain more students to graduation. Researchers who distinguish between the different types and levels of research can better utilize the combinations that most empower them and their institution to address specific problems and achieve desired outcomes. (JMC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Community Coll. League of California, Sacramento. Commission on Research.
Note: From the collection of papers entitled "Creating a Research Pervasive Environment," published by the Community College League of California, see ED 326 269.