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Veteran Public School Teachers' Perceptions of Research-to-Practice Methods and Effectiveness: A Qualitative Study

Lesa L Brand, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


In 2015, the United States government signed the Every Student Succeeds Act which called for evidence-based interventions, strategies, and programs in K-12 education. Mission statements in districts around the country echoed the need for evidence-based, or research-based practices in classrooms to bolster student achievement. While a wealth of research exists regarding the movement of research into practice, most studies are centered on teacher education programs, or pre-service teachers’ use of research in first or early years. Little is known about how veteran public school teachers apply research in their practices. In this qualitative inquiry, eleven veteran public school teachers from elementary, middle, and high schools were interviewed using a semi-structured protocol to determine their perceptions of research-to-practice in education. Using a two-stage process, the data was analyzed for codes, categories, and themes. Four themes emerged: Engagement, Resistance, Research-to-Practice in Action, and Proposed Practices. Teachers in this study lacked a means of collaboration between themselves and educational researchers; instead they used materials from SD/PD offerings and the expertise of other educators as their primary means of learning about research or research-based methods and strategies, neither of which required direct contact with researchers or research articles. Other research has suggested that collaboration between teachers and researchers would help bridge the research-to-practice gap (Alber & Nelson, 2010; Ball, 2012; Cooper, 2007; Hedges, 2010; McIntyre, 2005; Schneider, 2014; Wentworth, Carranza & Stipek, 2016), but the present study suggests that veteran public school teachers prefer to collaborate amongst themselves, in their own way, and through their own preferred mediums. Inserting meaningful, contextually relevant, and important research into these interactions is a step toward bridging the research-to-practice gap in education. A Self-Directed Teacher Research-in-Practice Model is advanced to address the findings of the study, and empower teachers in practice to embrace and use research in meaningful ways.

Subject Area

Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Brand, Lesa L, "Veteran Public School Teachers' Perceptions of Research-to-Practice Methods and Effectiveness: A Qualitative Study" (2018). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10791563.