When Research Matters

When Research Matters How Scholarship Influences Education Policy

Edited by Frederick M. Hess, foreword by Lorraine M. McDonnell
Pub. Date: February 2008
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-054-6
paper, 324 Pages
Pub. Date: February 2008
ISBN-13: 978-1-891792-84-7
Price: $34.00

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When Research Matters considers the complex and crucially important relationship between education research and policy.


Renewed interest in the uses of social science evidence for public policy has prompted a vigorous debate about the quality and utility of education research. The essays in this volume contribute important insights into a range of complex and contested issues. Researchers, policymakers, and consumers of education scholarship need to have this book. — Michael J. Feuer, Executive Director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education in the National Research Council of the National Academies

The current devotion to ‘scientifically based research’ indicates great faith in the ability of research to influence policy. Yet the policy-research nexus has not been examined in recent years. Ironically, the messy complexities of the research-policy connection don’t lend themselves to the research designs currently in most favor. Therefore, this book fills an important void. Under what circumstances and in what ways is research influential today? Can we create better incentives and support for the conduct and use of research that is both rigorous and relevant to policy? These and other questions make for fascinating reading. — Susan Fuhrman, President, Teachers College, Columbia University

When Research Matters asks the questions that are rarely asked about the difficult road from research to policy. For the classroom educator, the unevenness of the road from research to policy makes the next leg of the journey—from policy to practice—that much more difficult. This volume gives us all a deeper understanding of the reasons research is often poorly translated into practice. — Pascal D. Forgione Jr., Superintendent of Schools, Austin, Texas

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About the Author

Frederick M. Hess is a resident scholar and director of education policy studies at AEI. His many books include No Remedy Left Behind (AEI Press, 2007), No Child Left Behind: A Primer (Peter Lang, 2006), Educational Entrepreneurship (Harvard Education Press, 2006), Common Sense School Reform (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Revolution at the Margins (Brookings Institution, 2002), and Spinning Wheels (Brookings Institution, 1999). His work has appeared in outlets including the Harvard Educational Review, Urban Affairs Review, Social Science Quarterly, American Politics Quarterly, Teachers College Record, Education Week, Phi Delta Kappan, Education Next, Educational Leadership, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and National Review. Hess currently serves on the review board for the Broad Prize in Urban Education, as executive editor of Education Next, and as a member of the research advisory board for the National Center on Educational Accountability. He is a former high school social studies teacher and former professor of education and government at the University of Virginia. He holds his MEd in teaching and curriculum and his MA and PhD in government from Harvard University.