Educational research in the United States: a survey of pre-K-12 teachers' perceptions regarding the purpose, conceptions, use, impact, and dissemination
The purpose of this survey study was to collect data from pre-K-12 educators in the U.S. regarding their perceptions of the purpose, conceptions, use, impact, and results of educational research. The survey tool was based on existing questionnaires and case studies in the literature, as well as newly developed items. 3,908 educators in a database developed over 10+ years at the world's largest education company were sent a recruiting email; 400 elementary and secondary teachers in the final sample completed the online survey containing 48 questions over a three-week deployment period in the spring of 2013. Results indicated that overall teachers believe educational research is important, that the most important purpose of research is to increase effectiveness of classroom practice, yet research is not frequently sought out during the course of practice. Teachers perceive results in research journals as the most trustworthy yet also perceive research journals the most difficult to access (relying second-most often for research via in-service trainings). These findings have implications for teachers, administrators, policy-makers, and researchers. Educational researchers should seek to address both the theoretical and the applied aspects of learning. Professional development must make explicit links between research findings and classroom strategies and tactics, and research must be made more readily available to those who are not currently seeking additional credentialing, and therefore do not individually have access to scholarly literature. Further research is needed to expand the survey sample and refine the survey instrument. Similar research with administrators in pre-K-20 settings as well as in-depth interviews would serve to investigate the "why" of many findings.