As our center continues to promote community-engaged work and pursue policy, systems, and environmental change, the members of our Research and Evaluation unit are becoming increasingly visible in communities. While the phrase “research and evaluation” works well internally, it doesn’t explain to our community partners and research participants the application that is derived from our work. Our team discussed the need to better communicate our work through our name, and decided to change the name of our unit to Applied Research and Evaluation.
The phrase “applied research” better describes what we do to external audiences. Here is a formal definition of applied research forwarded by SAGE Publications, an independent, international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media:
Research that focuses on the use of knowledge rather than the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. A motivation behind applied research is to engage with people, organizations or interests beyond the academic discipline and for knowledge to be useful outside the context in which it was generated.Looking ahead, we hope our new name will help our audiences better understand that application follows research and evaluation. We want our partners to see our drive to make change or, at the very least, inform their work with research and evaluation. Lastly, our new name is more all-encompassing to the graduate students on our team who are eager to conduct research and explore the outcomes of evaluation for the communities in which we work.