Researching the Self-Reg Model

 In Self-Regulation Institute Blog

It’s been my very great privilege to be the Manager of Research at the Self Regulation Institute (SRI) since 2017, and to be part of the organization’s ongoing imagining, thoughtful evolution, and incredible growth. There is an awe inducing passion for researching the Self-Reg model. The whole team at SRI, from our boards, to our Executive Director, the staff, volunteers, mentored researchers, and generous community are all fully swept up in exploring the science of Self-Reg. We are constantly seeking to explore and better understand how Self-Reg knowledge grows, how the model can be applied, and how it can create a positive change. This passion is incredibly inspiring and productive and it indicates a great need for ongoing integrative and rigorous research, as well as diverse and innovative knowledge sharing.

By far the biggest challenge currently comes out of the sheer size of the passion for Self-Reg research. We are inundated with requests daily for information about Self-Reg research, and requests to bring our research work and expertise to schools, hospitals, and child care facilities around the world. Self-Reg has clearly sparked a frenzied desire for the calm that allows us to be at our best!  We want to do it all and I am sure we will in time. Each partner we have the privilege of meeting brings new ideas, new contexts, and new research questions and we deeply value this.

The most consistent research request we receive is the need for evidence indicating that Self-Reg works. This is something that SRI is working to accomplish in the most methodologically sound way possible. As Stuart Shanker has so famously explained, stress occurs in a dynamic system. Evidence in a dynamic system has to be very carefully identified. SRI is responding to this request by diversifying its research to look at the growth of Self-Reg understandings, applications of Self-Reg across diverse contexts, and the results of such applications in a variety of contexts. We are conducting thorough literature reviews and pure research with colleagues who work in related fields. And it’s all very exciting.

All of this research is quickly shared across our knowledge platforms: from our social media platforms, to our webinars, podcasts, and blog, to our peer reviewed academic journal. We are not just conducting and supporting research but seeking to share our findings with our community – those who requested it and beyond. The goal is to grow our understandings and continue the conversations with our passionate community – all vital to ensuring that our research is relevant and valuable. In addition to always looking for ways to involve our community in the wider conversation about Self-Reg research, we are also seeking to support Self-Reg researchers.  We are developing tools so that new Self-Reg researchers can not only deeply understand the intricacies of researching the model, but also build on work that is already being done. All good research produces more research questions. We can see that Self-Reg works but we will never stop exploring new ways in which it can work, new contexts in which it can be applied, and new impacts we had not observed or considered before.

This cycle of research leading to more questions is incredibly valuable. Every time we make a new discovery and every time one individual is positively impacted by the “gift of calm” we gain more energy!  The great Dr. Brenda Smith-Chant, who is so integral to SRI that she has more titles than she has names (Chair of our Board, Senior Researcher, Speaker, and Research Advisor), succinctly clarified what SRI does when she told a research partner that Self-Reg research is “research in service.”  I know she meant service to our partners – but in reality it goes both ways. One of the services SRI offers is that we support young researchers, from a variety of academic fields as they grow their skills and build their capacity. But we also benefit as these students provide us with fresh insights and bring to light how fun research can be!

We also support our partners with “research in service” through Self-Reg research training and research support. As we collaborate with our partners, our understanding grows along with theirs.  

Researching the Self-Reg model at SRI has been an incredible journey and I have learned so much from all of the individuals and organizations involved. I cannot even imagine what exciting new research projects are around the corner for for SRI but stay tuned!

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