Santa Cruz Tech Beat


ETR: Research-Practice Partnerships: Sharing Data Where It Matters

By David Manuel Torres
Research Assistant, ETR

June 18, 2019 — Scotts Valley, CA

For most people, “data” is a four-letter word—not many enjoy looking at distributions and comparing percentages. Even fewer like to do so at the end of an hour-long meeting on a Tuesday morning. It’s data. If you’re not into statistics, it can be confusing. It isn’t always clear how it’s going to be useful in the real world.

Still, there are times when data need to be discussed. It can be an incredibly powerful tool for researchers and organizations. I’d like to share how we approached the gathering and sharing of data in one of our partnerships in ways that enhanced “non data-oriented” staff’s competence and confidence in understanding data while also informing how ETR does research.

Research-Practice Partnership with Digital NEST

ETR has been working with staff from the Digital NEST and its predecessor projects for over a decade. This nonprofit community-based technology center was founded and is located in the heart of Watsonville, a small city the center of a large rural, agricultural community in California. The Digital NEST’s mission is to provide technology access, positive youth development, career exploration, job training and paid professional on-the-job capstone training to predominantly Latinx youth ages 14-24 from working-class families with immigrant histories. In 2015, ETR began a research-practice partnership (RPP) with Digital NEST. Our goal was to build systems and effective practices to support technical education and career pathways for underrepresented youth, with ETR as the researchers and the NEST as the practitioners.

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