SERA Pilot Study Internal Review: UNCW Research Team

Along with seven research-partner teams across the country, we finished collecting data for the SERA Pilot Study: Science Instruction for Students with Disabilities in 2022. As the SERA Team finishes analyzing outcome data (check back soon for a summary of procedures and findings), we conducted internal reviews with our team and participating research partners to elicit their feedback on the implementation of this crowdsourced research study. Without these research partnerships, our efforts to democratize and accelerate the pace of research through crowdsourcing special education research would not be possible. We value these partnerships and are incredibly grateful for all our SERA Research Partners who participated in the pilot study.

One of the seven research teams we worked with throughout the SERA Pilot Study was the team at University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). The UNCW research team included Dr. Amelia Moody, Dr. James Stocker, Dr. Sharon Richter, and Racheal Gliniak (graduate research assistant).

The following post was written by Drs. Amelia Moody and James Stocker to summarize their experience as SERA Research Partners:

Crowdsourcing in special education research offers opportunities to determine the types of evidence-based interventions that function most effectively and efficiently across diverse populations of students. The Special Education Research Accelerator (SERA) at the University of Virginia welcomes a diverse array of researchers to participate in large-scale replication research. At the University of North Carolina Wilmington, we had the opportunity to engage as a research partner in a crowdsourcing pilot study on science facts. We piloted the study in both rural and urban schools, with the majority of schools located in high-poverty locations. 

We received training materials and videos to guide us through each step of data collection. The SERA team provided extraordinary support, and we found them easily accessible to answer questions throughout the study. We enjoyed problem-solving together to meet the unique needs of our students located in high-poverty areas. In one instance, an urban school had a number of issues related to sharing and collecting information through digital means as well as internet accessibility. Our team identified the barriers and generated solutions alongside the SERA team. We quickly converted to paper format and successfully recruited participants through flyers in backpacks. Also, data collection for each participant occurred via a school liaison versus web-based questionnaires for parents/guardians that had outdated contact information. We quickly realized that when developing large and diverse participant samples, it is critical to have multiple options to meet the needs of each population of students.

We discovered that the SERA team at the University of Virginia accepted and valued our feedback on the pandemic-modified intervention procedure. We delivered the intervention via zoom and provided information back to the SERA team to improve the application and fidelity of the protocol. Overall, we collected a significant amount of data across multiple sites alongside other SERA partners across the country. Our participation allowed SERA to gain data from a more diverse population of participants. The goal of the project was to answer critical questions about how to improve outcomes for children with disabilities. The crowdsourcing process was effective and efficient in meeting this goal.

Click here to view a full list of SERA Research Partners. If you are interested in becoming a SERA Research Partner and learning more about our upcoming studies, please submit a message through our Contact Form and a member of the SERA Team will reach out to you!