Elite Research, LLC was founded in 2003 by Dr. René Paulson. Read why Dr. Paulson created Elite Research below.
Nearing the end of my graduate school career, I wasn’t quite sure what I would do. I loved research and teaching, but wanted to use my skill set for many types of research instead of a single academic department. Resounding myself to a career of 9 to 5 industry number-crunching, I plunged forward through research, publications, and my dissertation. Then one of my statistics professors told me to apply for a part-time consulting position at a local university. Sensing my apprehension, he said, “Do it until you graduate. It’ll be good for your vita.” I decided to give it a try. After one month, I realized it was exactly what I was meant to do: help people with their research. Since I worked for the research office, I helped people in many different areas of research, which kept the perpetual learner in me happy. Additionally, I got to lead workshops, which kept my teacher side happy as well.
My work with faculty at the university expanded, and soon I had some outside faculty and student clients. It was great! My new career plan involved consulting part-time for the university in addition to working on a few external projects.
A few months in, a defining moment happened. A group of researchers in Reading Education asked to meet regarding their already-funded research project. They immediately bombarded me with questions, asking if I could conduct various analyses, and what my opinions were on the analysis plan relative to their research design and hypotheses. As these things had been outlined in their proposal, and their research already funded, these questions were really a test of my knowledge.
After passing this test, the next set of questions focused on whether or not I could teach them various research skills, in addition to set up data files and run basic analyses in SPSS. “Of course,” I told them. With a few training sessions and some follow-up for me to verify their work, they could certainly handle these skills on their own. I explained that my role at the university was not just to do the work for them, but to guide and educate them where needed so they could become stronger researchers and do more on their own.
The researchers exchanged a pointed look, and, being the direct person that I am, I asked if there was a reason for these specific questions. They told me that the previous year, they had hired a statistician who came highly recommended and was currently working on the project. When they had asked him to teach them these basic research skills, he told them it just wasn’t possible for them to learn how to do these things without years of education and training. Therefore, he had to do all of these pieces for them.
Now don’t get me wrong; there are certainly many analyses that should only be conducted by a person who went to graduate school and has extensive experience in research and statistical analysis. However, none of the things these researchers had asked to learn were even close to this level of complexity. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an uncommon story. Researchers from all over the United States reported similar situations: statistical consultants were "holding their knowledge hostage."
Consultants in many fields will tell you that your knowledge is your paycheck, your "bread and butter." It’s what gets you the jobs. But being an educator and researcher at heart, I decided on the opposite approach. Let’s empower researchers with as much of the knowledge and skills that they can handle so they can do more on their own, enabling them to improve the quality of their research and make the grant dollars go further.
So in 2003, Elite Research was formed. Where "empowering the world’s researchers" means supporting them in all facets of their research, teaching them new skills to improve the quality of research overall.
We started small, working for referral clients only, and letting our reputation grow. We gathered a team of excellent researchers, statisticians, survey developers, and editors who also believe that information should be shared. Fostering an environment of research development, collaboration, and training, our goal is to ensure that research and statistics is easily approachable to everyday researchers.
Dr. René Paulson, President