FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Project Definition and Scope of SPF Knowledge Base


Q: How does SPF define practitioner-research?


A: SPF takes a broad view of the relations between ‘practices,’ that is the things that professionals and people in general do to benefit society in socially responsible ways, and the creation and sharing of new knowledge. Our Foundation supports exploring these relations in the context of practitioner research that takes place in the social domains of education, wellness and healthcare, social work and social services, and community-based participatory initiatives. Typically, practitioner research is defined as research “performed by individuals who also work in a professional field as opposed to being full-time academic researchers.” SPF extends this definition to include individuals who are involved in improving communities as socially engaged and responsible citizens.  The Foundation operates from the view that publishing by practitioners and active citizens, including youth, is an important part of democratizing knowledge production in the twenty-first century in a responsible manner. We believe that practitioners and socially responsible engaged citizens are closer-to-the-ground of what works and what might work in addressing questions of practice in domains critical to healthy human and social development. 


In addition, while we recognize that practitioners can produce knowledge using traditional social science research methods, SPF respects that efforts to break free of the potential monopolizing effects of traditional research need to be supported as well, and this means that diverse methods of gathering and analyzing evidence need to be embraced along with diverse expressions of findings from work ‘in the field.’ 


Q: Can university faculty and students and university-affiliated community practitioners publish with SPF?


A: Yes, SPF publishes work by university faculty and students. Our efforts focus on knowledge production and dissemination based on practices in the field, whether these practices are by professional practitioners or by active citizens, including youth, working to make socially responsible changes in local contexts. Sometimes the efforts to strengthen such practices are made in communities through collaborations and/or partnerships between community-based initiatives and university faculty or faculty-student research teams. SPF is pleased to publish reports based on such collaborations and partnerships.


Q: What does SPF count as “knowledge”?


A: Traditionally, knowledge is described as a “familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts (propositional knowledge), skills (procedural knowledge), or objects (acquaintance knowledge).”  Knowledge is often thought of as something held by particular types of experts. In recent decades, many challenges to what has been called the “knowledge monopoly” of experts have been raised. When knowledge production is rigidly controlled through a monopolistic approach, the popular knowledges associated with working in local contexts are choked off and marginalized. Yet, some of these challenges have been irresponsible and dangerous in attempting to divorce fact from conclusions and to elevate fantasy-thinking at the expense of science and rational understanding.


SPF believes that knowledge production can be and should be more horizontal and inclusive in nature. The Foundation provides a platform for sharing and for the use of new knowledge, materials, and products generated by practitioner-led research.  We do so to encourage the use of practice-based knowledge that has emerged through gathering and analysis of practice-based evidence. Our efforts focus on knowledge production and dissemination based on practices in the field, whether these practices are by professional practitioners or by active citizens including youth working to make positive changes in local contexts.


Maximum Number of Projects


Q: How many projects can I submit for publication?


A: There is no limit on the number of publication proposals submitted by a practitioner-researcher.


Publish Your Work and Become a Social Publisher


Q: Why should I go through all the trouble of conducting and publishing practitioner research?


A: There are a number of reasons. First, becoming a practitioner-research strengthens the ownership of practices by those who are the practitioners. In other words, it is an empowering experience. In addition, practitioner-research is a way to make changes in practice that can then be examined to see if they achieve the desired results. It keeps implementation and assessment of new approaches and models rooted in the specific contexts in which practitioners work. Practitioner-research also often transforms worksites and improves communication among worksite staff. As practitioner-researchers, staff members are interacting as people focused on providing the highest quality service to their students or service recipients. Lastly, publishing your work as a practitioner-researcher is a way to share your insights, wisdom, and findings with others interested in strengthening their practices. It is one of the most effective forms of professional development that can be found. As a published practitioner-researcher you are contributing to the knowledge base of your field. Practices focused on service, whether for children and youth or adults, are stressful. Practitioner research, which incorporates reflection alongside the regular actions of a practice, helps reduce stress and restore calm.


Q: Can I publish research conducted before I learned about SPF?


A: Yes, you can complete the form to Become a Social Publisher. Reviewers affiliated with the Foundation will review and provide feedback on your submission.


Q: If I become an SPF social publisher by publishing my work, can I publish it on another outlet?


A: Yes, you can do so. The Foundation does not limit how the author of the work published in this website will use their knowledge and products. The author is the 'owner' of the knowledge. More information about copyrights is provided in Creative Commons (BY NC SA).


Q: Does SPF publish only “Research Outcomes and Research Products?”


A: No, SPF now also welcomes the submission of essays and associated media that address improving practices and services associated with education, social work and social services, community-based participatory initiatives, and wellness and healthcare.


Support the Foundation Process


Q: What do contributions to the Foundation support?


A: Contributions help support the Foundation's programs, such as funding for start-up grants and the Knowledge Ambassador Program, and updates/maintenance of the SPF website.


Q: How is a sponsorship processed?


A: Donors to SPF become partners with the Foundation. The "Donate Today" button found in "Support the Foundation" will lead to the PayPal site established for SPF. As shown in the PayPal site, you can either Donate with PayPal or Donate with a Debit or Credit Card. The Foundation uses PayPal to maintain security in fiscal transactions Official Partners are acknowledged on the Foundation's website and in our publications.


Partnership and Collaborations


Q: What kinds of partnerships and collaborations does SPF seek?


A: SPF seeks partnerships and collaborations with non-profit organizations, associations, labor unions, foundations, universities, schools and school districts, institutes and centers, and a wide variety of community-based initiatives in alignment with SPF's mission and vision. We are primarily interested in working collaboratively to strength the position of practitioner research in the broad realm of democratizing knowledge production and dissemination. 


If you have additional questions, please Contact Us.