Tales from the frontline: the experiences of early childhood practitioners working with an 'embedded' research team

Eval Program Plann. 2009 May;32(2):99-108. doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2008.10.003. Epub 2008 Oct 18.


In late 2006, SDN Children's Services, an Australian not-for-profit provider of services for children, families and communities, engaged a research team that was 'embedded' within the organisation for 1 year. This action represented a significant investment of resources, such as staff time and organisational funds, and demonstrates SDN's strong commitment to research and evaluation as a means of supporting organisational learning and development. This paper highlights the innovative nature of the approach by positioning the role of the embedded researcher within the current theoretical and socio-political context. It also provides evidence of the success of the approach by reporting on the findings of a study that investigated staff's experiences of being involved in this type of collaborative investigation of their work. I argue that the employment of an embedded researcher can have positive benefits both for the organisation and the practitioners--but who the researchers are really matters.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Biomedical Research*
  • Child
  • Community Health Services
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Decision Making
  • Government Programs / economics*
  • Humans
  • Models, Educational
  • Pediatrics*
  • Research Support as Topic / economics*
  • Teaching*
  • Time Factors