Over two decades, the National Center for Education Research and the National Center for Special Education Research at IES have built a knowledge base to inform and improve education practice. This work has also spurred the development of evidence-based tools, technological products, training guides, instructional approaches, and assessments.
While some IES-supported interventions are used on a wide scale (hundreds of schools or more), we acknowledge that a “research to practice gap” hinders the uptake of more evidence-based interventions in education. The gap refers to the space between the initial research and development in university laboratories and pilot evaluations in schools, and everything else that is needed for the interventions to be adopted as a regular practice outside of a research evaluation.
For many academic researchers, advancing beyond the initial stage of R&D and pilot evaluations is complex and often requires additional time, financing, and specialized expertise and support. For example, interventions often need more R&D to ready interventions for scale—whether to ensure that implementation is turnkey and feasible without any researcher assistance, that interventions work the same across divergent settings and across different populations, or to bolster technology systems to be able to process huge amounts of data across numerous sites at the same time. Advancing from research to practice may also entail commercialization planning to address issues such as intellectual property, licensing, sales, and marketing, to facilitate dissemination of interventions from a university to the education marketplace, and to sustain it over time by generating revenue or securing other means of support.
Special Inside IES Research Interview Series
This winter and spring, Inside IES Research is publishing a series of interviews with the teams of researchers, developers, and partners who successfully advanced IES-funded education research from the university laboratory to practice in schools at scale. Collectively, the interviews illustrate a variety of models and approaches for scaling evidenced-based interventions and for disseminating and sustaining the interventions over time.
Each interview will address a similar set of questions:
- Was it part of the original plan to develop an intervention that could one day be used at scale in schools?
- Describe the initial research and development that occurred.
- What role did the university play in facilitating the research to practice process?
- What other individuals or organizations provided support during the process?
- Beyond the original R&D process through IES or ED grants, what additional R&D was needed to ready the intervention for larger scale use?
- What model was used for dissemination and sustainability?
- What advice would you provide to researchers who are looking to move their research from the lab to market? What steps should they take? What resources should they look for?
Check this page regularly to read new interviews.
We hope you enjoy the series.
This series is produced by Edward Metz of the Institute of Education Sciences