Does research evidence affect policy and practice?
Submitted by David J. Rosen on July 11, 2019 - 7:41am
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In the LINCS CoP English Language Acquisition group Paul Rogers has asked, "if there were evidence / research to prove that using smart phones etc. could enhance learning, then what? Would teachers and administrators change their policies?" This question deserves a discussion thread of its own, so here it is. Please join in.
I would like to unpack Paul's question with several related questions. I'll join in with some answers from my perspective, but first I want to hear from others, from you! Don't feel you have to answer all these questions, and especially not all of them in in one reply. You can reply separately about those that interest you.
1. Good research evidence in our field. Do we have some good research, and research evidence, that adult basic skills (including ESOL/ESL) teachers and administrators can use to improve practices and programs? If so, what are some good examples?
2. Research in our field compared with other fields. How does the research evidence in the adult basic skills (i.e. adult basic education or adult literacy) field compare with research evidence in K-12 education; higher education; and in other fields, for example in medicine, which our field has sometime been compared with?
3. Research that could influence decision-making. As a field, where do we have sufficient research evidence to make decisions about improving programs and practices? Where do we have some evidence? For which topics, questions, or program decision areas is there little or no evidence, and where research evidence is very much needed?
4. Under what circumstances do practitioners or policy makers use research evidence to make decisions? Where we do have adequate evidence, under what conditions or circumstances do teachers and administrators at the program/school and state levels use it in making decisions to implement new models and practices? When do policy makers at local, state and national levels use research evidence in making decisions?
5. Obstacles to using research evidence. Where teachers and administrators do not use existing research evidence, why not? Is it difficult to find relevant research evidence? Is it difficult to understand studies, to interpret their findings and recommendations when they are available? If so, what would make that easier? Do practitioners despair, even if when they know what research evidence suggests as good or best practices, that the funds and professional development support to help make that happen is lacking?
6. Overcoming the obstacles. What are good examples of how practitioners at local and state levels have been able to overcome these obstacles?
7. Other related questions. What questions would you like to add to this discussion?
David J. Rosen, Moderator
LINCS Program Management and Integrating Technology groups.