Using research evidence: a concise guide, gives an overview of different types of education evidence, what they can be used for, and what their limitations might be.
Education professionals are increasingly turning to research evidence to support the decisions they make in the classroom. It can help them make informed decisions about how to make the most of their resources. But there’s an increasing amount of education research evidence available, as well as materials and products that make claims based on research, so it can be difficult and time-consuming to make judgements about their reliability and usefulness.
To help, the guide introduces several red flag warning signs to look out for when examining a piece of research evidence, including:
- The research is funded by an organisation of individual who has a personal stake in the findings.
- The evidence is shared on a commercial website that benefits from the intervention or approach.
- The number of participants included in the research is small or isn’t representative of the target population.
- The findings have been extended to situations or people – for example, different year groups or subjects – that the research didn’t look at.
It also gives five tips on getting beneath the surface of research evidence before applying it in classrooms, early years settings, or colleges. These include integrating research evidence with professional expertise and insights, and maintaining a critical eye and not accepting claims without question.
Professor Becky Francis CBE, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), said: