Maximizing the Policy-Relevance of Research for School Improvement

Edited by:
Angela M. Urick, The University of Oklahoma
David DeMatthews, University of Texas
Timothy G. Ford, The University of Oklahoma

A volume in the series: Leadership for School Improvement. Editor(s): Pamela S. Angelle, The University of Tennessee.

Education policy and policy making is shaped through the activities of a complex network of educators, educational leaders, researchers, community members, as well as government and non-government officials and organizations. Educational researchers are a critical player in this complex network and their investigations of various educational phenomena seek answers to questions relevant to the design and implementation of education policy for school improvement in the United States. Their research findings, however, often have limited influence in larger policy conversations and decisions (Orland, 2009), and this is due to many factors. By thinking more intentionally and systematically about the connections of their work to policy and policy making, researchers can provide an evidence-based starting place for discussions about school improvement with the complex network of stakeholders engaged in policy development. Furthermore, with the careful design and framing of their research and an awareness of its implications, researchers can increase the relevance of their work for policy and, in so doing, spur the interest and dissemination of research findings to wider audiences. This book offers resources for education researchers, faculty, and advanced graduate students interested in maximizing the impact of their policy research on school improvement. In achieving this purpose, the book has three main foci: 1) the landscape of education policy making as well as legislative processes in the United States; 2) the design and execution of policy-relevant research to maximize its impact; and 3) the consideration of traditional and alternative outlets for research dissemination that are available, beyond educational research journals.

This book is primarily for education researchers, faculty, and advanced graduate students seeking to improve the visibility and reach of their research on school improvement, particularly in the realm of educational policy and policy making. Toward this aim, this book will serve as a resource for: 1) the landscape of education policy making as well as legislative processes in the United States; 2) the design and execution of policy-relevant research to maximize its impact; and 3) the consideration of traditional and alternative outlets for research dissemination that are available, beyond educational research journals. While a volume in the book series for the American Educational Research Association Special Interest Group, Leadership for School Improvement, the importance and relevance of this book stretches across research areas in education. Further, the content of this book serves as a comprehensive guide for how education researchers, in general, can better situate their work to influence policy which would be utilized by university scholars, graduate students in research or policy courses, as well as research associates or directors in various organizations relevant to education such as research consulting groups, non-profits which serve education causes, teacher unions, state agencies or state-level educator organizations/associations, and think tanks. Emerging or established researchers in any of these organizations who want to increase the relevance, significance and dissemination of their work into education policy is an audience for this book.

Proposed Book Outline:
Introduction and Significance
Section 1: Understanding the Landscape of Policy Making
> Political “Player” Landscape of Education
> Federal Education Policy Process
> Influencing State-Level Policy
> Research Gaps in Education Policy

Section 2: Planning and Executing Policy-Relevant Research for Maximum Impact
> Considerations in the Designing of High-Impact Policy-Relevant Research
> Quantitative Research Designs for Policy-Relevant Research
> Qualitative Research Designs for Policy-Relevant Research
> Mixed Methods Designs for Policy-Relevant Research
> Critical Approaches for Policy-Relevant Research
> Framing the Implications of Policy-Relevant Research for Maximum Impact
> External Funding Possibilities for Policy-Relevant Research with Purposeful Dissemination

Section 3: Traditional and Alternative Outlets for Research Dissemination
> Communicating to Policymakers
> The Role of Professional Associations in Policy Research and Advocacy
> White Papers/Policy Briefs
> Radio/TV media
> Blogs and Social Media
> Opinion/Editorials
> Community Activism and Advocacy
> Commentary on Policy-Relevant Research

Conclusion and Next Steps

Author Proposed Chapter Abstract:
This abstract provides an opportunity for authors to outline and summarize the content of their chapter prior to a full draft. The abstract is a document which communicates expected chapter content among author, editors and publisher. Authors may receive suggestions or edits on chapter content to maintain cohesion across the volume. Abstract should contain between 500-800 words and explain the sequence of main ideas and information provided by the chapter.

Chapter Requirements:
Chapters should be around 25-30 pages in length or approximately 7,000 to 8,500 words including references, tables and figures. Please follow APA 6th edition format.

Send Inquiries to: Angela Urick, urick@ou.edu

Tentative Schedule for Publication:
Abstract Submissions Due to Editors: August 30, 2018
Full Submissions Due to Editors: November 1, 2018– January 31, 2019
Peer Review of Manuscript: February - April 2019
Feedback Out to Authors: April 15, 2019
Final Drafts Due to Editors: July 15, 2019
Anticipated publication: December 2019