When the Results Disappoint, the Process Matters Little

  • William Meezan Ohio State University
  • Bowen McBeath Portland State University


This narrative describes a research project done in the community that did things "right" by academic standards and at times felt "blessed by the research gods." It brought together members of the academy and representatives of public and nonprofit agencies, was fully participatory in nature, had adequate funding that was obtained with relative ease, used the strongest of designs and analytic techniques, and was well disseminated. Yet, in the end, politics and behaviors that fostered organizational maintenance trumped findings that led to new knowledge and organizational learning. Despite the academic rewards that the author has reaped and will continue to reap from this experience, it left him feeling more cynical about the system of services that has been put into place for children in foster care and their families.

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