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Getting Answers to Your Education-Related Research Questions: Spotlighting Ask A REL

By Ira Pollack | March 14th, 2019


Ira Pollack
Ira Pollack is the Ask A REL reference desk librarian at REL Northwest.

Imagine you are the superintendent of a school district in the Northwest who is interested in learning more about full-day kindergarten, math interventions, equitable access to qualified teachers—or any number of other education-related topics.

You want to make an evidence-based decision, but you don’t have much time to devote to research, and a quick Internet search yields results with questionable (or nonexistent) sources.

What can you do?

The answer: Submit a question to Ask A REL.

High-quality Research You Can Trust

A collaborative reference desk service provided by REL Northwest and the other nine RELs in the United States, Ask A REL functions much like a reference librarian for members of the public in each of the REL regions.

Specifically, the service provides references, referrals, and brief responses to research-based education questions in the form of annotated summaries or bibliographies of free articles.

Ask A REL responses include rigorously conducted education research that is publicly available.

The goal is to help education practitioners and stakeholders make informed decisions about policies and practices that ultimately optimize services for learners.

Reading Interventions, Social and Emotional Learning, Teacher Effectiveness, and More

A wide range of individuals have sought answers to education-related questions through Ask A REL, including school board members, community college administrators, staff members at state education agencies, district administrators, and superintendents.

Further, these practitioners and stakeholders have requested data on various topics, such as:

  • Reading interventions
  • Four-day school weeks
  • Social and emotional learning
  • Community-based schools
  • Rural teacher effectiveness
  • Successful transitions from high school to college and career
  • Supports for English learner students

To submit your own education-related question, visit Ask A REL. We look forward to providing you evidence-based answers to your questions.