5 ways Data Must Speak is co-creating education research

Data Must Speak’s team co-creates its research with stakeholders and partners, working together on research design, data collection and analysis, and evidence uptake. But how is this done in practice? Through the five-steps approach presented in this blog.

April 06, 2023 by Kevin Clidoro, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, Jessica Bergmann, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, and Renaud Comba, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti
2 minutes read
Credit: UNICEF

The GPE Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) provides financial support to the Data Must Speak initiative. This blog was originally published by UNICEF.

The Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance research believes that the most significant agents of change in the education sector are grassroot-level stakeholders, and that they should be at the forefront of addressing education challenges within their contexts.

As such, the DMS team co-creates our research with stakeholders and partners, working together on research design, data collection and analysis, and evidence uptake.

Traditional research approaches have often regarded key stakeholders only as end-users of knowledge. Whenever research is designed, data is collected and analyzed, and findings are disseminated, stakeholders are consulted in some stages but usually detached from the entire research journey.

Sometimes, researchers only ask stakeholders to join a meeting at the start of a research project to introduce the design and methodology and at the end to share key findings. These research practices result not only in disengaged stakeholders but also in an underutilized sea of knowledge.

More recently, meaningful co-creation has gained prominence as a research approach for ethical, impact, and sustainability reasons. Having direct roots from participatory research approaches, the core principle of research co-creation is to engage stakeholders as co-owners of research.

Rather than only being end-users, stakeholders are now active and fair partners. The DMS team works with local and national education stakeholders throughout the research journey with clearly defined purposes.

From research design to research uptake and impact, how can education research be co-created? To find out the 5 steps in this approach, read the blog on the UNICEF website.

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