What is applied research, or more specifically, applied social research? It’s using social science to understand and help solve real-world problems. This is what I was trained to do in my Ph.D. studies at Baylor University, and it has been a vibrant and rewarding part of my career ever since.
I’ve designed, implemented, and reported on hundreds of research studies, large and small, throughout my career in the corporate, academic, and nonprofit sectors. Whether the goal is to increase market share or decrease systemic injustices, my research approach is the same: understand the issue, its drivers, and points of leverage; then test out various approaches to addressing it.
Today my expertise is more on the policy advocacy side, but I am still very much involved in mechanics of applied social research through my current position as Director of Criminal Justice Research at Arnold Ventures. In fact, I believe trained researchers make for some of the best policy advocates! What makes for a good applied researcher—endless curiosity and inclination to listen, willingness to challenge assumptions and change course in response to evidence—is also valuable in shaping and advocating for public policy change.
If you’re a researcher wanting to know more about my tribal affiliations, here goes: