The utilization of research knowledge to improve practices is considered by many authors to be a factor in the promotion of academic success.
However, our work shows that little research is used by teachers and school administrators. This under-utilization could be explained by the fact that the large majority of school practitioners confuse the source of knowledge with knowledge itself, do not differentiate between research-based knowledge and other types of knowledge and rely above all on their intuition for evaluating the quality of the knowledge that they adopt in their practice.
It is crucial to develop a favourable view of research.
Ultimately, our goal was to answer the following question: how can we promote the utilization of research knowledge by school practitioners? Using a valid and robust research methodology, we were able to provide some answers. To encourage potential users to make use of research-based knowledge, it is crucial to develop a favourable view of research. This may be achieved by combining several conditions.
First of all, efforts must be made to lead schools to promote research-based knowledge. In addition, effective strategies should be adopted to support stakeholders in their utilization of research knowledge (allocation of necessary resources, appointment of support officers, etc.). At the same time, the development of a research-friendly organisational context and the implantation of adequate support strategies will encourage stakeholders to develop expertise in using research knowledge. This expertise appears to be crucial, since the majority of respondents have difficulty conceptualizing exactly what is meant by research knowledge.
More importantly, with enough expertise, potential users will change their opinion of research knowledge and, in doing so, will be more inclined to use it.
Christian Dagenais, Université de Montréal
Deposit of the research report: August 2010