Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

As the RTC/CL research projects develop, we will answer questions here about the outcomes and methods of each project.

Questions about research in general:

What is a research and training center? 
These scientific organizations, typically based at universities, are funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), a part of the U.S. Department of Education. Each focuses on a specific problem affecting people who have disabilities. As sites of national excellence in rehabilitation research, the centers conduct research in the problem area, teach those in the field about their findings, help a variety of audiences use the information to make life better, and serve as resources for research information.

What is the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)? 
As part of the U.S. Department of Education, NIDRR provides leadership and support for a comprehensive program of research related to the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities. Its efforts are aimed at improving the lives of individuals with disabilities from birth through adulthood. Visit http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/programs.html for more information.

What type of research do research and training centers do? 
Research is a way of finding answers to questions through a systematic process. Medical researchers, for example, may test new drugs, procedures and equipment to improve health outcomes. Social scientists who conduct disability research focus on learning more about human behavior, experiences, and environments. The purpose of our research is to help make changes in policies, programs, and practices that affect the lives of people with disabilities. We use different types of research methods, depending on the particular question that needs to be answered.

What is data? 
Scientists call collective pieces of information “data.”  These data are presented as the results of a study. After results have been gathered,  researchers analyze the data to see if any predictable patterns, associations, or variations emerge to determine out what the results mean.


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