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University of Colorado Boulder School of Education

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1 University of Colorado Boulder School of Education

2 P ROMOTING R ESEARCH E VIDENCE FOR E DUCATIONAL P OLICYMAKING Prof. Kevin Welner University of Colorado Boulder School of Education Director, National Education Policy Center American Youth Policy Forum Webinar Research, Policy, and Practice: The Role of Intermediaries in Promoting Policies February 27, 2014

3 The Importance of High-quality Research “Research can be made to say anything” Distinguishing “Research” from “High- quality Research” “High-quality Research” = solid evidence of what’s happened in the past

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6 The Problem of Parallel Conversations Conversation #1: Among Researchers Key Standard = Peer Review Key Goal = Knowledge Building Conversation #2: Among and Between Policymakers, Practitioners, Position Advocates, the Public, Community Organizations, and the Media Key Standard = Persuasiveness & Marketing Key Goal = Change Policy and Practice

7 Bridging the Parallel Conversations

8 Types of NEPC Publications Think Twice Research Briefs Policy Briefs Legislative Policy Briefs Plus… Best of the Blogs (republished blogs) Education Review (book review journal)

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10 Repeated Problems Our Reviewers Find Weaknesses in research methods, such as the confusion of correlation with causation, ignoring regression to the mean, and failure to account for selection or attrition bias. Long-distance leaps from evidence, to causal conclusions, and then to unsupported recommendations. The selective use of ‘research’ to bolster pre- determined findings (cherry picking).

11 Repeated Problems Our Reviewers Find Weaknesses in research methods, such as the confusion of correlation with causation, ignoring regression to the mean, and failure to account for selection or attrition bias. Long-distance leaps from evidence, to causal conclusions, and then to unsupported recommendations. The selective use of ‘research’ to bolster pre- determined findings (cherry picking).

12 Repeated Problems Our Reviewers Find Weaknesses in research methods, such as the confusion of correlation with causation, ignoring regression to the mean, and failure to account for selection or attrition bias. Long-distance leaps from evidence, to causal conclusions, and then to unsupported recommendations. The selective use of ‘research’ to bolster pre- determined findings (cherry picking).

13 Repeated Problems Our Reviewers Find Weaknesses in research methods, such as the confusion of correlation with causation, ignoring regression to the mean, and failure to account for selection or attrition bias. Long-distance leaps from evidence, to causal conclusions, and then to unsupported recommendations. The selective use of ‘research’ to bolster pre- determined findings (cherry picking).

14 Repeated Problems Our Reviewers Find Weaknesses in research methods, such as the confusion of correlation with causation, ignoring regression to the mean, and failure to account for selection or attrition bias. Long-distance leaps from evidence, to causal conclusions, and then to unsupported recommendations. The selective use of ‘research’ to bolster pre- determined findings (cherry picking).

15 Repeated Problems Our Reviewers Find Weaknesses in research methods, such as the confusion of correlation with causation, ignoring regression to the mean, and failure to account for selection or attrition bias. Long-distance leaps from evidence, to causal conclusions, and then to unsupported recommendations. The selective use of ‘research’ to bolster pre- determined findings (cherry picking).

16 Our Dissemination Strategy If you build it, they will yawn. Accessible work is necessary but not sufficient. Use intermediary organizations with more capacity to reach a broad audience, including media. Use social media. Try to develop relationships. Collaborate with partners.

17 The Larger Problem Disincentives to Heed Research Education research has a well-known bias against superficial, politically expedient ‘solutions’ (w/apologies to Colbert). Policy makers tend to not want to hear that their pet ideas are unlikely to succeed. The policy maker audience is, generally speaking, not clamoring for high-quality research.

18 The Quasi-Solution No Magic Bullet Here Either Bridge the Parallel Conversations Invite Expert Scrutiny

19 Questions & Answers

20 University of Colorado Boulder School of Education


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