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Use of Research Evidence

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.

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Reducing Inequality

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.”

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New Resources for Researchers: Read the “William T. Grant Digest” Issue 1

The introductory issue of the William T. Grant Foundation Digest features essays and commentary on the value of qualitative and mixed-methods research in reducing inequality and the potential for researcher access to big data to yield useful research evidence.

Featured Grantee

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.

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Featured Work

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?

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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?

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Featured Grantee

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.

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Featured Work

Sarah Sparks writes in EdWeek that the “new research finds an insidious cycle” and that “fifteen years of new programs, testing, standards, and accountability have not ended racial achievement gaps in the United States.”

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Featured Grantee

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 […]

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Featured Work

We recently observed and interviewed leaders in a major urban school district as they set out to revise their district’s school improvement policies. In pursuing their goals, the leaders we followed drew heavily from the 2010 book, Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago. Drawn from a longitudinal research study of hundreds of schools, Organizing […]

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New Report: The Role of Exclusion, Social Capital, and Generic Social Processes in Upward Mobility

Despite top-down measures and informal trends that would seem to encourage integration by providing opportunities for social interactions across socioeconomic and racial divisions, social exclusion persists in the United States, particularly among the poor and disadvantaged.

New Report: Insights on the Funding Landscape for Research on Inequality Among Young People in the United States

A new report from Sarah Bruch of the University of Iowa finds that, despite increased attention to the topic of inequality, the funding landscape for research on youth inequality in the U.S. is still relatively small.

Featured Grantee

Research is sometimes a messy process, full of trial and error, vision and revision. Recent scholarship has indicated that the use of research evidence can be messy, too. In Democracy, Deliberation, and Education, I venture into the messy setting of research use to better understand how school board members, as local educational policymakers, encounter various […]

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Featured Grantee

Guanglei Hong is using advanced statistics to understand the nature of educational settings and the ways that public policies and teachers’ practices affect the academic growth of immigrant-origin students whose first language is not English. As a native Mandarin speaker, Hong continued to work on her English language skills throughout her graduate studies in the […]

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New Report: Research-Practice-Policy Partnerships in Child Welfare and Child Mental Health

Describing the structure and operations of partnerships, and the potential challenges to making them work, Larry Palinkas and colleagues present three models of successful partnerships in the child welfare and mental health systems. Case studies for each model provide rich examples of the common elements and central themes that characterize the value of partnerships as […]