One of the greatest challenges for an academically-based, applied research center is the translation of scholarship to practice. To address this challenge, the Center launched an innovative project, Dialogues on Research and Poverty, designed to bridge the goals of generating new knowledge, supporting the next generation of scholars, and reaching out to policymakers. The Dialogue brings researchers, graduate students and policy practitioners together in the commission of an original research paper and brings the scholar into dialogue with practitioners for the unusual opportunity to shape both the questions to be addressed and the interpretation of results.
With support from the Center and the UW Vice Provost for Research, the initiative selects Faculty Scholars who work with graduate students to work together on an academic paper that advances a specific area of their current research on poverty and policy issues. They complete regionally-focused, practitioner-oriented research on poverty, using state-level samples from national data sets and/or more specialized data sources for their research. The Center works with the researchers to identify three to five senior policy practitioners at the national and regional levels who can review the research findings and participate in a facilitated conference call on implications for policy and practice in the region. The Center then develops and disseminates a publication for web posting and mailing that combines a 4-6 page, easily accessible summary of each research project with a summary of the practitioner’s comments and insights about its implications for practice. Additional web-only resources are made available on the WCPC website.
Mark Edwards, Associate Professor of Sociology at Oregon State University and recipient of a WCPC Western Poverty Small Grant, examined how state and nonprofit organizations on the west coast have collaborated in the aftermath of welfare reform to serve families who are food insecure. His report also explored state trends relative to the U.S., and explanations for changes in rates, along with trends in state policy. Five policy practitioners at the state, local, and national level joined in a conversation with Edwards on the implications of his findings. To read more about this Dialogue, click here.
UW Sociology doctoral student Emily Walton, with UW Professor of Social Work David Takeuchi, conducted an analysis of the effects of ethnic enclave characteristics such as poverty on health across different racial and ethnic groups in west coast communities, using national self-reported health data and a new method of enclave mapping. For more information about this Dialogue, click here.
In our third DIALOGUES Project, UW Associate Professor of Public Affairs Rachel Kleit and Geography doctoral student Man Wang conducted an analysis of typologies of rural and urban communities and their implications for the understanding of poverty, its concentration, and urban and rural differences in inequality, and discussed the findings with state and nonprofit policy practitioners. For more information about this Dialogue, click here.
With support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Administration for Children and Families, researchers from Partners for Our Children (POC) and the West Coast Poverty Center (WCPC) examined data from a survey of child welfare-involved parents in Washington State to measure the extent and nature of “economic disconnection” among these families and to explore the relationship between disconnection and engagement in child welfare services. For more information about this Dialogue, click here.