Can educational research inform educational practice?
That enterprise known as educational research is predicated on the supposition that research is vital to the improvement of educational practice. As a former vice president of one of the divisions of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), I suppose I should endorse that supposition. As a member of the faculty of a school of education committed to the belief that educational research informs educational practice, I might be expected to embrace that belief as a matter of institutional loyalty. Yet I have worked in the field of education for 26 years, 23 of them in universities – Ohio State for 1 year, the University of Chicago for 5 years, and Stanford for 17 years – and, despite efforts to socialize me to the prevailing norms, I still have questions about the relationship of research to practice. I would be less than honest to accept as a matter of faith a belief about which I have serious doubts. Hence I write this article not to proclaim that educational research informs educational practice, but to ask whether it can inform educational practice.