Using equitable research to help Chicago youth thrive
// By Jacqueline Brennan
Research can drive decisions about investment in communities. And unintended research bias can lead to ineffective approaches and inequitable resources and opportunities that prevent all young people from fully thriving.
Chicago Beyond’s guidebook, Why Am I Always Being Researched?, is intended to level the playing field; reckon with unintended research bias; and better position organizations, community leaders, and equitable research to positively change the lives of young people – in Chicago and beyond.
Founder and CEO Liz Dozier will offer insights from the guide in the Upswell workshop, “Taking the Bias Out of Social Impact Research,” to help you shift the power dynamic and address unintended research bias to empower the lives of young people and help restore communities you serve (learn more about Liz).
“We’re an impact investor that backs the fight for equity, specifically youth equity. In many cases, we’ve invested in research projects to help our community partners grow the impact of their work,” according to Liz. “Throughout these projects, another sort of evidence emerged – that the power dynamic among community organizations, researchers, and funders blocks information that could drive better decision-making and fuel greater investment in communities most in need. This power dynamic creates an uneven field where research is designed and allows unintended bias to seep into how knowledge is generated.
“We’ve also seen that often funders and researchers are considered the ‘brain,’ and community is the ‘brawn.’ And we know that’s not true. We know that nonprofits, funders, and researchers provide knowledge and all have something to contribute – and that if we work together in more equitable ways, we could come up with better solutions to support healthy communities.”
Chicago Beyond’s guidebook was informed through discussions with hundreds of organizations across the country – funders, researchers, and community organizations, according to Liz. It considers seven inequities being held in place by power, as well as seven opportunities for change.
“The guidebook has a section for nonprofits, for researchers, and a section for funders. It talks about everything from access, to information, to validity, and ownership, and value, accountability, authorship – and how nonprofits, funders, and researchers can contribute to more equitable ways of relating to each other to get to a more authentic truth.”
Taking the Bias out of Social Impact Research is happening Wednesday, November 13 from 3 – 4pm ET.