Research can serve the public interest when it is used to inform decisions. But for researchers at all levels of the career ladder, getting your work used in ways that shape policy and practice can be a challenge.
Reflecting on the odds of upward mobility in light of a widening opportunity gap in the United States, Harvard’s Robert Putnam states simply: “Any notion that you can ‘pull yourself up by your boot straps’ sounds ridiculous now.”
It’s important to recognize that the form of research contributes to the social sense-making process, and can create a body of shared understandings based on research principles. Research designed for use, with specific guidance for practice, can embed common ideas in state school improvement delivery systems.
Despite widespread efforts by intermediaries to shape education by conveying research to policymakers, a recent study finds that very few of these policymakers report using research when making decisions. As other studies have found instances where research can shape policy and practice in a variety ways, what explains this contradiction? And what does it mean for efforts to improve the use of research evidence?
Whether it is instrumental or conceptual, research use needs to be measured in order to be understood. But what exactly are we measuring?
Research works in subtle ways to influence policy decisions and practice. Bill Penuel and Anna-Ruth Allen outline three approaches that can help identify the uptake of ideas from research in practice.
Michigan State University’s Jennifer and Zachary Neal are using their recent research grant to investigate the ways that research evidence is identified, evaluated, and adopted by school district leaders. The Neals lead the Michigan School Program Information Project (MiSPI), which is focused on understanding how public school administrators find information about school programs, and how […]
Balancing impact and improvement is not a matter of doing the impossible. Rather, it is a matter of duplicating success.
Intermediaries can’t solve all the problems related to the use of research evidence by policymakers and practitioners, but they can serve as effective bridges between the producers and users. Understanding the conditions that enable intermediaries to be effective is key to sustaining these important connections.