Lost in Translation:
Building Pathways from Knowledge to Action

The Spring 2016 conference focuses on strategies that maximize the likelihood that policy makers, funders and practitioners will demand and use rigorous research.
A central goal of the meeting is to build bi-directional pathways between decision-making and evidence on educational effectiveness. These pathways should span the research process: (a) identifying important problems of policy and practice to inspire creative new research questions,
(b) designing relevant studies that use rigorous methods,
(c) conducting responsive and useful analyses, and
(d) communicating findings to diverse audiences in clear and engaging ways.

The challenge for researchers is to engage with policymakers and practitioners in the planning stages of a potential research project, and ultimately to present results that will resonate with individuals involved in key aspects of educational practice. The corresponding challenge for practitioners and policymakers is to engage with researchers as they address the political and operational challenges of conducting rigorous research and disseminating its findings.

The core conference sessions will convey research results in accessible and transparent terms that facilitate exploration of their implications for policy and practice. We particularly encourage presentations that frame questions, methods, conclusions, and potential pathways for collaboration beyond the research community. Where possible, participants should address the conceptual and operational challenges inherent in navigating the bi-directional relationship between practice and research. This includes drawing evidence-informed implications for policies and practice that are meaningful and useful for educational practitioners. Toward these ends, the conference Program Committee strongly encourages proposals for symposia, panels, papers and posters aimed at maximizing engagement across the broader education science community.

Questions that motivate the conference theme include:

  • How does the origin and development of research questions affect the utility
    and influence of studies?
  • How do process, implementation, and cost analyses affect the interpretation
    and impact of research results?
  • How may single studies or clusters of studies on a given topic inform broader questions
    about a given policy issue?
  • What role does internal validity and generalizability play in enhancing or limiting
    the utility of research?
  • What role does impact variation play in enhancing or limiting the utility of research findings?

The Spring 2016 conference is organized around content areas focused on:
(a) Early Childhood Education
(b) Social and Emotional Learning Interventions in Educational Settings
(c) Improving Classroom Practice
(d) Evaluating Educational Policies and Programs
(e) Education and Life Cycle Transitions
(f) International Perspectives on Educational Effectiveness
(g) Research Methods