Social Work Office of Research & Public Service

Applied Research & Data Analytics

We improve human lives through rigorous research and the translation of knowledge to advance critical policy and practice agendas.

Domain Specific Research
Agenda Development

  • Systematic evidence reviews
  • Facilitate practitioner discussions for agenda setting


  • Design
  • Management
  • Execution
  • Knowledge translation & dissemination

Advanced Data

  • Descriptive
  • Diagnostic
  • Predictive
  • Prescriptive

Recent Accomplishments

Provider Advisory Groups

Partnered with Tennessee’s Department of Human Services to recruit participants, facilitate discussions, and curate qualitative data collection for representative groups of early childhood education providers throughout Tennessee. Provider Advisory Groups meet regularly to participate in solutions-focused conversations that support improved accessibility, affordability, and quality of early childhood education and care across Tennessee. Our researcher team helps frame conversations that empower child care providers as well as communicate provider needs to appropriate state personnel and other Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) partners. This human-centered approach is grounded in the experience of the early childhood care providers, trusting their experiences to shed light on critical next steps for the continued improvement in early child care.

Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) Research Consortium

Collaborating with CCDF Partners and other experts to streamline early childhood research efforts and align research priorities. Working with other members of the Consortium, SWORPS researchers are building consensus to establish the first-ever state-wide research agenda for early childhood care. In addition, we are monitoring and catalyzing the Consortium’s Topic Interest Groups to address the priorities set by a common research agenda. Outcomes from this effort are intended to inform both early childhood policy and practice throughout Tennessee.

National Early Childhood Workforce Center — Learning Collaborative

Working with early childhood researchers, policymakers, and stake-holders from across the country to mine existing workforce data and guide the development of more equitable practices and policies for professionals and paraprofessionals. Specifically, we analyze patterns of professional development and educator training data throughout Tennessee to identify trends that support learning that serves the needs of early childhood educators regardless of geographic location or socio-economic status.

Team Members

Sara Borden

Senior Researcher

Kara Lowery

Senior Researcher

Brianna McGee

Senior Researcher

Jeff Vomund

Senior Researcher