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Sharing RELevant research: The Ask A REL reference desk

Sharing RELevant research: The Ask A REL reference desk

By Cora Goldston
November 8, 2017

Research drives effective educational practice, but it can be difficult for educators to keep up with the latest research while balancing other professional demands. The Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) are happy to do the heavy lifting. If you’re interested in the research behind a certain topic, just submit a request to the Ask A REL reference desk.

Requests from educators in the Midwest are directed to the REL Midwest Ask A REL team, who will compile the following:

  • Relevant research reports published within the last 15 years and, in some cases, older reports that provide foundational information about the topic.
  • Additional organizations that have more information.
  • Information about how the search was conducted, which may inspire future requests.

What happens after we compile the research? Educators and policymakers can use the responses to shape strategy and test out new practices. For example, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) submitted an Ask A REL request for more information on the impacts of school culture and climate on student outcomes. To find pertinent research, the Ask A REL team searched the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), a free electronic library hosted by the Institute of Education Sciences. The team also included links to relevant federal resources, such as the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments.

Heather Boughton, director of data quality for ODE, says that the Ask A REL response was applicable right away for Ohio’s school climate efforts. She says the state will use the response to inform both current strategic planning and future inquiries into school climate. Boughton explains, “The Ask A REL results quickly led our state to make one-on-one connections to researchers. This allows our state to see what the research community currently knows about school climate and discuss potential future research.”

Do you have questions about education research? Submit a request to the Ask A REL reference desk and browse archived Ask A REL responses from the Midwest.

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Author(s) Information

Cora Goldston Staff Picture

Cora Goldston

Communications Associate | REL Midwest


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