Research Beyond Academia

Categories: Focus Series, Other


In June and July MethodSpace will focus on research-oriented careers including career purpose and goals, skills, as well as expected and unexpected transitions.

Looking for an academic job has become more difficult.

If you are someone with a new doctoral degree, or someone whose non-tenured position has been cut, I don’t need to tell you that times are tough. I graduated with my undergraduate degree at a similarly grave time, and was dismayed (to say the least) when I discovered I was competing for jobs with my former faculty! It is terribly discouraging to feel that the efforts you’ve made to prepare yourself for a new career are not enough when the context is rife with suffering and global problems beyond your control.

What can you do to make productive use of this time? In the BC era (before Covid), MethodSpace welcomed guest contributors to share insights in posts that are newly relevant.

In Roles & Skills for Research Outside of Academia, Dr. Julie Reeder discusses her work as a Senior Research Analyst with the State of Oregon WIC Program, part of the Oregon Health Authority. She offers practical advice to those who are interested in research in agency settings.

The interview with Julie was part of a series of posts about scholar-practitioners. If you are looking for research opportunities now, even without the support and assistance you might hope for in an academic position, these posts might be of interest. For example, “Research Skills that Adult Students/Scholar-Practitioners Need” offers suggestions about how to find research questions in your current situation. Perhaps a small study about issues at hand could provide the basis for an article or guest blog post for a site respected in your field?

Wondering about going it alone– doing research while you look for a position or as an alt-ac career option? See Dr. Helen Kara’s post: Ten Top Tips For Becoming An Indie Researcher, and Dr. Virginia Yonkers’ post: Research for Non-Tenure Track Faculty in the Covid Era.

Evaluation is different from scholarly research, because it has a strategic, practical purpose. However, many of the same skills and tools are needed. Find a wide range of posts about evaluation, including a month-long focus with contributions by Drs. Steve Wallis and Bernadette Wright. You might want to use this at-home time to learn about the practical mapping approach they recommend. Or perhaps this would be a good time to learn how to adopt more culturally-responsive approaches to research and evaluation.

Keep learning, do some kind of research-oriented activity, and keep hope alive. Visit MethodSpace for the continuing series on careers and options!

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