So I was there and now I am here. I left a research institution for a decently sized nonprofit. This has meant losing access to a number of tools that facilitate and allow new knowledge to be built — Institutional Review Boards, statistical software, sophisticated surveying tools, library resources, and more. Tens of thousands of dollars in knowledge creating assets no longer easily accessed. Luckily the new nonprofit has some capacity to start building this infrastructure. Some it will need to be borrowed. This is because staffers have social capital to access it through their networks or other affiliations. We also have the most expensive asset – hundreds of thousands of dollars of human capital that knows how to create knowledge.
But what if you are a grassroots organization trying to provide evidence that your reality is actually real? What if you are fighting against the knowledge creation resources of a much more well resourced opponent? What then? I may be lamenting my diminished research capacities, but I am still far more privileged than many.