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Webinar: Research as a Second Language

  • Thu, April 02, 2020
  • 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Online
  • 10


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Webinar: Research as a Second Language

Thursday, April 2, 2020

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Online Webinar

This program was originally hosted at Northeastern University but with growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the format of the program has been changed to a webinar.

Please note that the link to access the webinar will be sent to registrants in advance of the program.


As researchers, we are often tasked with training non-research staff to conduct basic (or often beyond!) research on behalf of a fundraiser or administrator. Traditionally, we think of prospect research as an iterative skill: the more you do it, the better you are at it. However, the non-researchers in our office may not research every day or even every week. How do we ensure that their work is up to the caliber of the research office? How can we effectively train these non-researchers in “Research-as-a-Second-Language” to become efficient, accurate prospect researchers each time they produce a research product? Having worked with many non-researchers, Marisa believes that anyone can conduct prospect research on a basic level; however, creating consistent, accurate products and getting to that skill level QUICKLY requires a different approach.

In this presentation, Marisa will guide attendees through the training program she created at Teach For America and honed at Yale University, where she have worked extensively with non-research development staff and undergraduate students. The premise of her training is based in metacognition, a powerful concept she first learned as a middle school English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) teacher, in which students are taught to review their learning and their work product by “thinking about their thinking.” Attendees will learn about metacognition, see its application in a training program, hear about the challenges in this work, and leave with concrete skills and materials to use this approach in their professional setting.


Marisa Spittal is a Prospect Research Analyst at Yale University, where she manages research training and supports the work of major gifts officers, Yale School of Nursing, and the planned giving team. Prior to joining Yale in 2019, she worked for four years in development at Teach For America (TFA) as a regional, corporate-foundation fundraiser and then as a prospect researcher in the central organization. From 2010 to 2014, Marisa ran the TFA-Connecticut Alternate Route to Certification teacher preparation program. She’s also taught English-as-a-Second-Language in New York City Public School. Marisa earned her J.D. at the University of Connecticut School of Law and her M.S. Ed. TESOL from Lehman College. Her B.A. in Classics and Political Science is from Macalester College. 


$85 Members

$125 Non-Members


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