Studying the Use of Research Evidence: A Review of Methods

In Studying the Use of Research Evidence: A Review of Methods, Drew Gitomer and Kevin Crouse highlight measures and methods from a range of methodological traditions that have been employed by researchers to assess the use of research evidence in disparate policy and practice domains, including education, child welfare, and public health. The report outlines core methodological issues in the study of the use of research evidence, reviews recent studies that illustrate specific data collection and study design methodologies, and discusses the affordances and limitations of each.

For each method, Gitomer and Crouse examine what they call “threats to valid interpretation,” which researchers would do well to consider as they design new studies. The authors also identify the distinct research questions that each methodological approach is best poised to answer. Importantly, Gitomer and Crouse give particular attention to measurement: how do we know research evidence is being used when we look for it? This challenge poses a significant obstacle to progress, and we hope that this report will help researchers identify the variety of approaches available and better understand their strengths and limitations.

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