Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education

Knowledge Mobilization: Closing the Gap Between Research & Practice

Dr. Amanda Cooper has begun a program of research at Queen’s called RIPPLE: Research Informing Policy, Practice and Leadership in Education.

A knowledge mobilization word cloud.

There is often a gap between research that happens in universities and this research being integrated in policy and practice at the school district and classroom levels.  A new field called knowledge mobilization (KMb) has arisen to make research matter more on the frontlines. KMb happens through social processes between diverse educational stakeholders including researchers, policymakers, practitioners, third party agencies, parents and community members. In other areas of social policy, integrating more research has resulted in better outcomes for citizens, such as hand-washing in the healthcare system to prevent infection or the influence of clean drinking water on public health.

Dr. Cooper’s most recent study mapped the activity of 44 educational organizations across Canada that are attempting to help schools better connect research and practice, organizations she calls Research Brokering Organizations (RBOs).  Organizations included the Canadian Education Association (CEA), People for Education, the Ontario Education Research and Evaluation Strategy Branch (ERESB), the Evidence-Based Education Services Team (E-Best) from Hamilton-Wentworth School District in Ontario and the Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet) to name just a few. This study contributes empirical data about intermediaries’ roles in research use in education in Canada and provides more clarity for future work.

Key Findings

Brokering functions of RBOs

  1. Linkage & partnerships of diverse stakeholders
  2. Raising awareness of research
  3. Increasing accessibility to research-based resources through research summaries and policy briefs
  4. Increasing engagement (data visualization, podcasts, social media)
  5. Capacity building with researchers & practitioners
  6. Implementation support
  7. Organizational development
  8. Policy influence

Further information: Dr. Amanda Cooper

 A diagram showing the Ripple process: research informing policy, practice and leadership in education.