“Democratizing evidence” means enabling a variety of stakeholders to participate in the production of evidence. The result should be an evidence base that is more relevant to stakeholders’ concerns. Greater transparency and inclusivity in the evidence development process—to say nothing of increased responsiveness to stakeholder concerns—may increase the subject community’s desire to act on findings, which in turn should create incentives for research leaders to consider democratizing evidence in the decisionmaking processes.
This approach absolutely speaks to current research needs in the education sector. The purpose of this essay by Abt’s Cara Jackson is to establish a framework for broader community involvement as a means of increasing the relevance and usefulness of evidence developed to support the needs of communities served by educational institutions.