Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND)

Research Course and Training Program

The LEND Research Course and Training Program includes an on-going class in conjunction with LEND fellows conducting interdisciplinary research projects. The course aims to provide fellows with a basic understanding regarding the development of a systematic line of scientific inquiry through the use of participatory-action research and/or ethnographic methods. As such, the course emphasizes beginning the research process through partnership and collaboration with subjects. The use of both qualitative and /or quantitative methods is encouraged. The course begins by discussing how research is conceptualized through a combination of theory, prior empirical research, and key stakeholder input. A discussion of developing relationships with the research participants, including methods for obtaining their input into the design, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of research is carried throughout the length of the course. Class sessions will generally consist of a 1 hour lecture/discussion followed by a 1 hour small group research lab experience, which will typically be a time in which fellows related to several projects will meet to discuss the challenges, progress, and next steps for their research in a supportive lab research environment.

All LEND fellows are responsible for completing a Research project over the course of the year. Ideally, the project will be interdisciplinary in nature, and we encourage this collaboration include individuals from at least two different professional disciplines. Projects can be: 1) a quality

improvement/quality assurance project related to one's clinical program or community initiative, 2) a pilot investigation that is qualitative/ethnographic and/or quantitative, 3) a subproject of a faculty member's ongoing research project, 4) an interdisciplinary participatory-action research project that involves developing evaluation procedures for an aspect of the LEND program (i.e., an evaluation of LEND’s Community Collaboration program or of a particular LEND course or program), or 5) a continuation of a LEND research project from the previous year. Fellows cannot use their Masters or Dissertation theses unless they examine a different research question and/or extend the study in a novel way (Genetic Counseling fellows are the exception, as they are conducting their Masters Thesis research, which will simultaneously serve as their LEND research project). Each project must start during and continue throughout the LEND year.

The goal of the Research Project is for fellows to gain experience in conducting research that culminates in a product that can be disseminated (e.g., via publication, platform or poster presentation). Research mentoring will be available through the Research Course and the research lab experience. Fellows will be expected to develop their Research Project in conjunction with their participation in the Research Course and to present their research projects as part of the LEND Research Poster Day & Symposium in late May.

LEND Fellows who have substantial prior research experience will be expected to complete the Advanced Research Training module in which they will receive supervision in mentoring LEND fellows from multiple disciplines who have less research experience. Fellows who are completing the advanced research training will meet routinely with one of the LEND Research Directors for supervision on how to set up and oversee their “research labs.” The advanced research training will take place during regularly scheduled LEND sessions.
 

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