01 SES 05 C, Professional Development for Change
The Lisbon strategy adopted in 2000 by the European Council considers knowledge to be the key element in securing future EU economic growth and promoting social cohesion. With this aim, a solid base it is needed so that knowledge can be produced and used to good effect. Education and training are the first requirements for every project based on the knowledge triangle of education, research and innovation.
The present study is funded by the Romanian Ministry of EDucation and aims to explore the practitioners’ perceptions of educational research and practice and to analyse the views of teachers in secondary school and education councillors on this topic.
There is extensive literature on the relationship between research and practice/policy and there are a wide range of models covering research/knowledge utilisation (e.g., Hemsley-Brown and Sharp, 2003, Jakku-Sihvonen & Niemi, 2006).
A commonly-used framework for analysing research utilisation is in terms of instrumental, conceptual and strategic research use. These are summarised by Estabrooks (2001). The author consider the instrumental research use as which ‘implies a concrete application of research, where the research has often been translated into a material or usable form’ and ‘is used to direct specific decisions and/or interventions’, the conceptual research use is understand as where ‘research may change one’s thinking but not necessarily one’s particular action … In this kind of research utilization, research informs and enlightens the decision-maker’ and the strategic (or symbolic) research use the use which ‘involves the use of research as a persuasive or political tool to legitimate a position or practice’.
The research-practice relationship is not straightforward, but is mediated through personal experience, collegial knowledge and organizational cultures: many studies report that practitioners in every field give greater weight to the views of their colleagues and to their pre-existing practices than they do to research evidence (Hood, 2003; OECD, 2003 among others). In other words whether people are interested in, pay attention to and make use of research evidence depends much more on their organizational setting and social relations than it does on their individual background or dispositions (Levin, 2013). Research evidence, thus, is just one influence on professional knowledge, competing with personal experiences and peers’ opinions. Further studies suggest that the capacity to implement research findings in every-day professional practice is dependent upon organizations and systems rather than on individuals (Levin, 2011 and Levin, 2013).
When research use is discussed, the principal focus is on the strategies and methods used by practitioners to access knowledge and what hinders and assist them in this process. Rickinson (2003) proposes a classification of the factors that can facilitate or hinder access to and use of research by education practitioners as nature of the research – factors relating to the focus and form of the research evidence; nature of the practitioners – factors relating to the interests, needs and background of the practitioner users; nature of the professional context – factors relating to the institutional context in which the research is being utilised and nature of the wider context of support – factors relating to the wider context of knowledge transformation, transfer and communication.
• Hemsley-Brown, J. and C. Sharp. (2003). “The use of research to improve professional practice: a systematic review of the literature”, Oxford Review of Education 29(4): 449–70. • Jakku-Sihvonen, R. & Niemi, H. (Eds) (2006) Research- Based teacher education in Finland. Reflections by Finnish Teacher Educators. Turku: Finnish Educational Research Association • Estabrooks, C.A. (2001). “Research utilization and qualitative research.” In Morse, J.M., Swanson, J.M. and A.J. Kuzel (Eds) The Nature of Qualitative Evidence. London: Sage. • Levin, B. (2011). “Theory, research and practice in mobilizing research knowledge in education”. London Review of Education 9 (1), 15-26 • Levin, B. (2013). Theory, research and practice in mobilizing research knowledge in education. www.oise.utoronto.ca/rspe/UserFiles/File/CSSEOverviewKMFinal.doc+&cd=1&hl=ro&ct=clnk&gl=es. Accessed on July 2013 • Rickinson, M. (2003). Reviewing research evidence in environmental education: some methodological reflections and challenges”. Environmental Education Research 9(1): 257–71.
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