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Is the Supply in Demand?

Is the Supply in Demand? Exploring how, when, and why teachers use research.

Cover image for Is the Supply in Demand?Learning Point Associates, as part of a grant funded by the Spencer Foundation, explores both the types of educational research teachers find useful for advancing their instructional practice and the way they access the research currently available.

Teachers are particularly inclined to seek out research when they have an immediate pressing concern, and their demand is greatest for research provided via the Internet, through trusted colleagues, by credible researchers, and in educational contexts similar to their own. However, their views of what constitutes “credible” research tend to differ from those of professional researchers. Teachers include among their criteria for credibility research that is relevant and applicable to their own classrooms. Perceived gaps between researchers and practitioners lead to issues with the content, presentation, and dissemination of educational research that limit teachers’ demand for it. In a profession where time is at a premium, teachers are unlikely to prioritize research that does not take into account their needs and preferences.

In investigating the underlying questions of how, when, and why teachers use research, Learning Point Associates provides new insights to help researchers better match what teachers want with what researchers supply. Better communication within the education community will lead to stronger, more research-based teaching and improvements in student learning.

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