When applied, research findings can vastly improve existing methods and strategies, especially in education. However, if the research is not distributed properly, educators will hesitate or refuse to apply the findings to their methods due to inaccessibility. Addressing the existing issues with the distribution process could help encourage educators to actively integrate new information into their lessons and procedures.
Finding the right place to publish is one of the largest barriers to research. Most education research is published in journals that are focused on reaching academics and scholars rather than educators. Identifying publications that cater to an audience of educators or alternative means of distribution could help eliminate the disparity in distribution.
While the information presented in formal academic findings may be revolutionary and accurate, it is unusable if not presented in an accessible manner. Language can provide a difficult barrier that prevents individuals from fully grasping the significance or meaning of information presented to them. When given research that is rendered inaccessible due to jargon and circuitous language, educators will be less likely to incorporate any findings—not because they disagree with them, but simply because they cannot understand them.
Fixing this issue is not a matter of “dumbing down” information but rather reassessing the intended audience of a piece and adjusting the language accordingly.
Most educators find themselves with little free time over the course of their careers, which limits their ability to read, assess, and integrate new strategies. Not only does the language impact an individual’s ability and willingness to learn, but the length of a piece can also serve as a deterrent.
Academic works tend to fill upwards of 10 or 20 pages with text, graphics, charts, and more; Attempting to parse that much dense information does not appeal to many educators who could spend their time doing more productive activities. While it is important for researchers to detail their processes and findings, provide concise and actionable materials is important for their work to have impact.
There seems to be a division between educators and academic researchers that prevents improvement and success from occurring. Educators fail to recognize the significance and applicability of the research, while researchers fail to understand how to make their research relevant and important to educators. The relationship between research, educators, and the process of implementing change deserves more attention.
In order to encourage better application and distribution of education research, dialogue between educators and researchers must become a priority. If an educator deems some research inapplicable to their work (based on factors such as unclear language, geographical location, or sample size), they simply won’t acknowledge it. Researchers should aim to understand what information matters most to educators and what can be the most useful in a real-world situation. Both sides should strive to recognize the purpose of the process in order to equalize the field and ensure the research is being conducted and applied to improve current strategies, methods, and approaches in education.
There is no simple way to change the way education research is distributed. Taking strides toward improving the system and ensuring research is accessible and relevant could help scholars tailor their research topics to educator needs while simultaneously making academic research more applicable in real classrooms and educational settings.