How Educational Leaders Conceptualise the Usefulness of Academic Research to Support Their Decision-Making
Given the pace of their work, school administrators often find it difficult to sift through the massive volume of primary academic research produced each year to find specific pieces that might be useful to inform their practice. In response to this issue, the author developed and implemented a strategy to filter research for local relevance and distribute that research to preKindergarten-Grade 12 administrators in a mid-sized Canadian school district. This paper provides a brief description of the strategy and reports a portion of the results from a study examining the efficacy of the strategy. Since the strategy surfaced research specifically connected to local problems of practice, it was anticipated that participants would (i) see value in research, at least if it was explicitly connected to local issues, and (ii) actually consult research to inform their work. Findings included a general acknowledgement from participants that academic research has the potential to support leaders’ practice. However, many noted barriers such as time, access, syntax, and relevance that made it challenging to translate research findings into actual practice. Respondents’ suggestions to make academic research more useful for them are discussed.
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