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Academic Advising/Counseling Research Guide

A guide to becoming an academic advisor practioner-researcher

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Diane Mizrachi
A1540K Charles E. Young Research Library
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Welcome to your Academic Advising/Counseling Research Guide. We hope that you will find this guide invaluable as you grow as a practitioner-researcher. This guide is developed for an inclusive community of higher education professionals, both at the 4-year and community college levels. We hope that academic advisors, counselors, faculty, administrators, and students will use this research guide as a resource to foster best practices and intellectual inquiry within the field of academic advising and higher education.

We are sensitive to the fact that individuals may identify as either academic advisors or academic counselors, and our intention is to be inclusive of all professionals. For the purpose of this guide, we use the term academic advising, while recognizing that advising practice is situated in an interdisciplinary framework,  rooted in educational counseling, and critical inquiry from diverse academic disciplines and scholarly perspectives.

How to use this research guide

There are many ways to get started! You can connect with an advising community of practice, learn how to get started and plan a research project, find books and articles on advising research, explore open data sources, or contact us to share your ideas for improving this guide.

Why are advisors and counselors interested in practitioner-research?

Marian Gabra Profile Picture

Marian Gabra, UCLA Director, Advising Professional Development and University Studies

"Advisors and counselors are an incredibly rich data source because we are on the front lines, learning about students and their experiences. It is critical that we see ourselves, and that others see us, as practitioner-researchers."

Wendy Troxel

Wendy Troxel - Director, NACADA Center for Research at Kansas State University

"All that’s necessary for practitioners to become scholars is an attitude of continuous curiosity about how and why students learn. That leads to intentional connections between interventions and evidence, and when shared with others through presentations and publications, we learn, too."

Justin Javier - Undergraduate Counselor, UCLA Department of Economics

"Research is a necessity, for me it helps inform and support my work as a student affairs practitioner and makes me a better undergraduate counselor when supporting the growth of the various student populations I work with."

Marissa Martinez

Marissa Martinez, Student Affairs Officer, UCLA Department of Statistics

My life-long passion for research stems from the opportunity to connect with colleagues across our field and to further enhance our profession as well as the daily student services we provide.

Share your story

Why are you interested in practitioner-research?

What are your research interests? Fill out our quick feedback form to let us know what you are exploring in research and practice.

What is advising research?

"Rigorous inquiry that investigates academic advising’s impact, context, or theoretical basis.”
- NACADA Research Agenda

What is practitioner research?

Practitioner research refers to workplace research that enables professionals to evaluate and assess practices, and find solutions to challenges they identify. It also fosters critical dialogue between theory and practice, and has the potential to advance knowledge production within the field. For example, scholarly advisors engage with the symbiotic relationship between theory and best practices, which informs how they advise. Thinking critically about how they advise can, in turn, enable advisors to reimagine advising theory.

Academic advisors are uniquely positioned to engage in practitioner research because they are in direct contact with students, working with them during challenging and transformative experiences throughout their academic careers. Their in-depth knowledge of student experiences has the potential to add texture, nuance, and dimension to advising research, which is typically done by faculty and higher education administrators.

To learn more about practitioner research: