Paying very close attention.
PAST Anthropologists get the full picture. The PAST Foundation Knowledge Capture (KC) Program was launched in 2007 to approach the systematic study of formal and informal transformation processes with anthropology. Ethnographic analysis utilizes multiple study methods, and can be joined with other disciplines to produce robust and informative analysis that informs implementation strategies in real time. In our work, PAST anthropologists apply ethnographic methods that include structured observations, interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, and online surveys.
Ethnography provides a valid instrument for identifying and measuring qualitative cultural and social factors that enhance or stall implementation strategies. Data collection and analysis reveal individual perspectives on key issues, as well as gather information on group attitudes and perceptions that form expectations and capacity for building shared understanding of critical outcomes. Ethnography seeks to identify common themes as well as differences among individuals and across groups, offering a comparative framework in which to better define the unique context of a particular program, as well as the essential qualities for successful program implementation.
The case study approach.
Knowledge Capture identifies critical steps to effective institutional transformation. PAST anthropologists’ work centers on identifying elements that are fundamental to transformational processes through ethnographic research and graphically illustrated qualitative and quantitative reporting to provide comprehensive documentation of measureable change over time. Our work is conducted in the form of case study analysis, supporting program implementation built upon participant-defined priorities. Ethnographic data derived from dialogue with administrators, faculty, and community partners directly involved with program implementation provides invaluable first-hand accounts that define strategic benchmarks essential to meeting stated goals and objectives. Through our work, we have seen how this approach helps guide real-time course correction in program implementation, advancing both short-term and long-term goals that achieve critical outcomes. Knowledge Capture research opens the transformation process to constructive engagement of all participants that aligns resources, creativity, and innovation to support successful program implementation. Gaining commitment of key participants in a shared endeavor to achieve commonly understood critical outcomes is fundamental to successful transformation.
Making transformation possible.
PAST anthropologists provide the necessary foundation upon which school transformation is built. Specific examples of work conducted by the Knowledge Capture Program include systematic analysis of transformative processes supporting successful STEM education initiatives and k-12 program implementation. This is especially important for multiple-year implementation processes that must often rely solely on student performance on standardized tests as the only measure of positive change. Our process identifies valid benchmarks and milestones that demonstrate elements of change as teachers gain confidence and expertise in the delivery of problem based learning (PBL). Equally important, is identifying measureable changes among students and parents as they experience successful strategies that help define essential elements of transdisciplinary, student-centered learning fundamental to STEM education and career readiness. Our STEM clients range from individual K-12 school systems engaged in grade level transformation to large scale state policy development processes requiring documentation of coordinated actions across local, regional and national networks.
Complementary: Assuring a unique fit.
Through our work with a range of clients, from large communities, small communities, organizations, to regional and statewide initiatives, it is apparent that there are as many approaches to success as there are institutions. The challenges of designing well-tailored strategies that advance collaborative innovation of participants seldom incorporates formal mechanisms for recognizing and addressing myriad perspectives, real constraints, and attainable outcomes. Our expertise in ethnographic analysis that characterizes actual constraints and perceived challenges provides a powerful tool for decision-makers as well as for practitioners. Our work provides the insights necessary to respond with efficient and timely approaches, maximizing the strengths of each organization or school system in ways that will advance your efforts toward achieving highly challenging but rewarding outcomes.Click here to view our series of published reports.