At the core of CIRCLE's work are a series of values that reflect our vision for stronger civic education and engagement, and for our role as ethical and effective researchers in pursuit of that goal. Chief among these values are two that speak to why—and to what end—we pursue our mission:
Equal and Just Outcomes
We believe in the importance of including more diverse voices in order to support equal and just outcomes for youth, especially those from communities that have been marginalized. We do research to understand how a variety of settings and systems can empower some and leave behind others, and use that research to promote the changes needed to achieve better outcomes. We practice equity in the ways we partner with people and organizations, always prioritizing engaging with those whose identities and concerns have been historically excluded.
We consider it vital to start and maintain two-way conversations with those working with young people, both so that our research is informed by practice, and so practitioners can utilize our research to advance their goals. We believe learning occurs in multiple forms and directions, and we seek to learn from everyone we work with so that our research is practical and relevant. We challenge each other to think strategically about how to communicate our work to diverse stakeholders, and we promote engagement with the media to widely disseminate our data and analyses.
How We Work
Other core CIRCLE values reflect and inform how we conduct our research, how we relate to each other as colleagues, how we approach our relationships with partners and research subjects, and our understanding of our place within the youth civic engagement field:
We believe that our research methods should be of the highest quality. Our review processes are meticulous and comprehensive, and we hold ourselves to high standards. Our high standards include attention to how our work can have direct applications and promote change.
Youth as Assets
We focus on young people's perspectives by carefully seeking to understand how many and diverse youth see the world, rather than imposing our views of how young people should think and behave. In fact, we see youth as integral partners and co-creators of knowledge, and when possible, we strive to meaningfully collaborate with youth on research projects and products.
We are intentionally transparent in expressing our goals and values, and we consciously acknowledge our knowledge gaps and our mistakes. We promote integrity by seeking and integrating feedback from stakeholders, while at the same time standing by what we consider to be rigorous.
We value diversity in all its forms; it is a key consideration in our hiring practices, research questions, methodological decisions, and more. We also embrace diversity of opinion, arguments, and culture, and we actively seek out views that run counter to group consensus. We strive to see people as they are and to consider strengths and areas of development.
We believe collaboration is necessary for substantive change to occur. We actively look for ways in which our aims intersect with those of other organizations across a variety of disciplines, fields, and industries, and we support like-minded groups in their pursuit of our shared goals and values. We cultivate a culture of collaboration and generosity by providing data and assistance to many organizations with shared goals, to fellow researchers, and to others who study and shape youth civic engagement.
Reflective and Caring Teamwork
We promote each other’s well-being through dynamic, caring, and joyful interpersonal relationships as we pursue an important, challenging task together. We take learning and reflection seriously, both for the sake of rigor and for team development, especially as it relates to understanding the diverse identities and experiences of our staff members.