Importance of participating in surveys/research

Recently there have been numerous requests for TVIs and COMS to participate in research projects. Often researchers are asking that participants complete surveys. Surveys tend to be quick online questionnaires while interviews, focus groups, or participation in an intervention are generally more time intensive. 

Researchers use surveys, interviews and focus groups to gauge individual views and experiences. When designed well, research provides the field a deeper understanding of people's opinions and behaviors that can be used to make important decisions. 

Educational Surveys/Research

Educational best practices are based on research; general education has the advantage that there are literally millions of teachers and students who can be tapped to gather data required for research projects. With limited numbers of blind and low vision students, TVIs, O&M specialists, paraprofessionals, family members, and others it is more challenging to have access to a large number of participants, for example family members of children in early intervention, O&M specialists working with deafblind youth, or TVIs who have emerging braille readers on their current caseloads.

Research may be used to better understand a specific issue, to find patterns (models of what works), to build best practices, to identify needs (which can lead to creating new tools, resources, training, etc.), to prepare for more focused in-depth studies, and to gather data which may be used to obtain the necessary funding to improve or resolve the issue.

Consider your current caseload. What would support you as you instruct students who are blind or have low vision? What would benefit your student? Do you need more resources (or training) in developing graphics literacy for young students? Does your student struggle with inaccessible digital educational materials or the tech skills required for online educational materials? O&Ms, do you need "best practices" for O&M referral process?

In the last 10 days, three important research opportunities have been shared on Paths to Technology:

Note: Research opportunities are regularly posted on Paths to Technology - when the three studies above are closed, check for new opportunities to share your opinions, involve yoru students, etc. Researchers count on you and others to take part in their projects so that the field is well represented.

We have incredible leaders in our field who are working hard to pinpoint areas of needs and to develop solutions. These researchers, who are often professors in VI-related teacher prep programs, are dedicated to supporting TVIs, COMS, and CATIS instructors in the classroom. Research is a way to identify these areas of needs - your classroom experience is critical! You - the educator - are working in the trenches, day in and day out and know first-hand what works and what does not when teaching BLV students. Participating in research projects are ways that your voice can be heard, paving the way to needed changes in our field. Take that the time to complete a survey, to participate in research, to share study announcements with others, and become a part of the solution! 

Read more about: Assistive Technology