Research to Practice

Executive Summary

Need for Research to Practice

A key outcome of evidence-based education is for scientifically proven interventions to be adopted and successfully implemented at the “practice” level.

Too many scientifically validated policies and practices fail to meet their stated outcomes because they failed to gain widespread acceptance, failed to be effectively implemented at the “practice level”, or resulted in unintended consequences that undermined the outcomes. Effective interventions are rarely adopted simply because they are shown to work.

In order for research to translate into practice, interventions must be efficacious (have a foundation in rigorous scientific research) as well as effective (address the necessary social influence factors to ensure the desired outcomes).

“Efficacious” refers to the “what” of education interventions. Interventions must be based on scientific research that is rigorous, transparent and current.

Effective refers to the “how” of education interventions. Equal emphasis must be placed on how to successfully disseminate and implement research proven interventions in “practice” settings.

The scientific approach must be equally applied to the study of implementation and social influence, as effectiveness of an intervention.

Components of Research to Practice

Research to Practice:

Requires (1) analysis of the effectiveness of an intervention in controlled settings, (2) analysis of requirements for successful engineering the intervention in applied settings, and (3) analysis of the social context factors which will predict its acceptance and successful implementation. In other words, the components include:

• Development: does the intervention work in a controlled setting?
• Implementation: what is required to implement it on a large scale?
• Acceptance: what is required for the practice to be effectively sustained in the educational community?

This research must focus on precision, prediction, and influence.

Research (Development):

Does the intervention work in a controlled setting?

Research (Implementation):

What is required to successfully implement the intervention on a large scale?

• Body of research
• Conducted in applied settings under normal conditions
• Demonstrate successful implementation
• Sustained over time
• Clear description of procedures
• Research is conducted to extend practice rather than discover new

Research (Acceptance):

What is required for the intervention to be effectively sustained in the educational community?

Social Influence Factors

Research to practice requires analysis of the social influence factors which will determine the likely success or failure of the intervention in the applied setting. These include:

Treatment Acceptability

Dimensions of acceptability

  • cost (dollars)
  • effort
  • ideology
  • inertia (support of what is currently being done)
  • return on investment,
  • immediacy of return

Societal Contingencies (Levels of vantage)

  • formal vs. informal contingencies
  • short term v. long term contingencies
  • larger social contingencies
  • unintended consequences
  • competing contingencies
  • collateral contingencies



All procedures have minimum level of conditions that must be met e.g. staff skill level.

Generalizability / Replicability

All procedures should address the issues of generalizing to other populations and environments, as well as the issues of replication.

Ultimately, the culture of education must become accountable for using validated practices, as well as be accountable for the outcomes.