Tuesday 21 February 2023
16:45 – 18:15 (EST/Washington D.C.)
Presenters: Anna Numa Hopkins, Moira V Faul
Systems approaches to improving the use of research evidence in education policy, planning and practice
Anna Numa Hopkins, Theme Lead Data and Evidence, and Moira Faul, Executive Director at NORRAG, presented on evolving understandings of how best to mobilise research and improve its use in education policy and practice. They started from the challenge of two broken feedback loops in international education: one between knowledge producers and users, and the second between global supply and local demand.
The presentation discussed the strengths and limitations of conventional activities centred on research outputs and products that involve researchers “pushing” evidence into policy, or policy “pulling” in evidence, along with recent relational initiatives that support interactions between knowledge producers and users. They proposed that perspectives on making and using research have become more nuanced – for example through changed understandings about what defines evidence “quality”, and attempts to grapple with issues of power and equity – but acknowledged ongoing political, social, and systemic challenges. Systems approaches were explored as one possible response, building on recent research that indicates that they hold great promise. Systems approaches aim to develop institutional or organizational capacity and infrastructure to provide an enabling context for the judicious use of research evidence in policy, including through systemic leadership. The paper drew on NORRAG’s recent work on improving evidence use and used the empirical example of the Global Partnership for Education Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) programme to illustrate the application of the conceptual framework. The presentation discussed how systemic approaches aim to improve the use of research evidence in education; provide more and better research for more equitable and just policy and systems; support the involvement of local and global stakeholders; and support co-production between researchers, decision makers and those affected by their decisions.