Factors that Enhance Research use

For our Descriptive Studies, we put our seven instruments to use to test the hypothesis of our guiding framework and conduct two types of case studies to deepen our understanding of research-practice relationships.

Through our Descriptive Studies, we hope to:

  • Explain the nature and extent of gaps between the research and practice communities;
  • Determine the conditions in which the gaps are minimized; and
  • Identify leverage points for enhancing research use in schools through targeted strategies.

understanding the Gaps Between Research and Practice Through Survey Data

The descriptive studies will examine schools’ depth of research use and the factors that influence it, as well as identify malleable factors that will inform strategies for enhancing research use.

R4S will also explore research production and the practices that are associated with greater use of research in schools and districts, identifying the channels through which research makes its way to schools.

Finally, we will study the gaps in assumptions and perceptions of research between the research and practice communities. We believe that a substantial amount of research use will not result from direct interaction between school practitioners and researchers, but rather that the two will be linked through other brokering institutions, dissemination outlets, and other types of actors.

A Closer Look

School Case Studies of Deep Use

R4S will work directly with schools characterized as deep users of research to learn about their day-to-day use of research and the successes and challenges they face. The purpose of the case studies is to explore how deep use has developed and been enacted in these schools. Case studies will deepen our understanding of the factors that support research use beyond what is possible in survey analysis. The School Case Studies of Deep Use will:

  • Support the internal validity of survey findings; and
  • Support development of strategies for increasing research use in policy and practice.

Research Community Case Studies

A second type of case study will involve in-depth case studies of members of the research community. The purpose of the case studies is to explore in greater detail the organizational and individual conditions that enable success minimizing the gap between researchers and practitioners and/or in generating deep use of research products among practitioners. Research community case studies will:

  • Extend our understanding of the relationship between research production and research use beyond survey analysis; and
  • Inform our recommendations for narrowing the gap between researchers and practitioners.

For more information on these studies, please see the center proposal.