Researching research use: An online study of school practitioners across Canada
Larysa V. Lysenko, Concordia University , Canada
Concordia University . Awarded
Because of its traditional role as an enabler of knowledge dissemination, education is expected to contribute substantially to the development of the knowledge economy. This means applying the knowledge that it generates through research to its own practice. Yet the literature shows that school practitioners do not express much demand for research findings, unlike doctors, engineers and other professionals.
The purpose of this pan-Canadian online survey study is twofold. First, it investigates the extent to which school teachers, principals and professionals use research to inform their practice and indicates predictors of this use. Second, it tests the generalizability of a questionnaire originally developed within a provincial secondary school context.
The 43-item questionnaire yielded 1,153 responses. Frequency of use of research-based information from a variety of sources and types of use were used as outcome measures. The questionnaire also explored practitioners' opinions about research, their attitudes towards research-awareness activities and their expertise to use research findings, as well as the constraints they contend with in everyday practice:-
The results indicate that the three groups of practitioners either do not use educational research or use it infrequently. Although the respondents share neutral attitudes towards research, their comments add a negative connotation by qualifying research as irrelevant, and biased. The latent factor opinions about research is the greatest predictor, accounting for 9-16% of the variance in practitioners' use of research. The psychometric qualities of the questionnaire remain stable. Its internal reliability is 0.94. The four-factor solution explains 60% of variance and together with demographic variables predicts 22% of the frequency of use of research-based information.
School leadership organizations, teacher education institutions and research-generating bodies stand to benefit from the study's findings, as they point to the necessity of increasing research relevance and accessibility, cultivating teaching as a research-based profession and building school capacity to use research. Future research should further explore the reasons why practitioners do not use research-based information and the ways to change school practitioners' negative perceptions of educational research. Refinements to the questionnaire and its cross-disciplinary comparison to other professions are also open for future inquiry.
Lysenko, L.V. Researching research use: An online study of school practitioners across Canada. Ph.D. thesis, Concordia University.
Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.
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