Numerous federal initiatives are increasing the incentives and pressures for state and local education agencies to adopt policies and practices that are grounded in research, yet little is known about how these agencies access, evaluate, or use research findings.
This study puts particular emphasis on understanding how relationships within agencies, and between agencies and external intermediaries, affect research acquisition, interpretation, and use. The research team will study three state education agencies working to improve low-performing schools. These agencies will have varying access to strong intermediaries who can assist them with research use, and varying histories of collaboration between internal divisions. The researchers will interview agency staff and intermediaries and collect data on social networks and agency operations, such as: media reports, applications for federal funding, agency budgets and staff lists, organizational charts, policy statements, program regulations and planning guides, and meeting minutes.