Report: Research to Practice Goes Both Ways
"Research-Practice Partnerships: A Strategy for Leveraging Research for Educational Improvement in School Districts"
Researchers often argue for the necessity of translating study results to classroom practice, while lamenting how rarely it happens. A new report by the William T. Grant Foundation says that thinking purely in terms of how to get educators to use the research presented to them creates a "one-way street" that's less effective than developing true partnerships between districts and researchers.
The New York-based foundation paints a picture of how more egalitarian partnerships develop and thrive. It says effective research-practice partnerships should be:
• Long-term, rather than set up just for the duration of a study;
• Focused on problems of practice relevant to the school or district;
• Committed to mutually benefiting the district and the researcher;
• Intentionally working to build and sustain the partnership; and
• Producing original analyses.
This doesn't mean all partnerships look alike. In one model, which the foundation calls a "research alliance," local educators, parents and community groups pull together and work with researchers to address concerns in their area. Design research, by contrast, looks a bit like developing prototypes in the business realm; researchers pair with schools and districts to test and tweak interventions in the context of their classrooms, rather than simply attempting to implement a whole intervention that has been successful in the lab or elsewhere. Individual organizations interested in solving similar problems are also joining "networked improvement communities" to share data, successes, and failures.
Vol. 32, Issue 20, Page 5Published in Print: February 6, 2013, as Report: Research to Practice Goes Both Ways