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ERIC Number: ED545224
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jun
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Going Public: Writing about Research in Everyday Language. REL 2014-051
Dynarski, Mark; Kisker, Ellen
National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE)
Communicating complex concepts to practitioners, policymakers, and other nontechnical readers is a challenge that all policy researchers face. Research in education uses many concepts from methodology and statistics. If researchers want to communicate their findings to an audience of other researchers, they can safely assume that their audience is familiar with these concepts. Research terminology, or "jargon," is efficient to use because it communicates concepts quickly. However, if the objective is to communicate findings to an audience of practitioners, policymakers or interested readers who are not researchers, researchers should not assume that their audience is familiar with research concepts. For this audience, communicating with research jargon is inefficient. To various degrees, depending on backgrounds and training, readers will have to decipher the jargon and guess at its meaning. They may not decipher it correctly, or they may get the meaning wrong, or they may simply stop reading. The concepts in this brief are from the three main areas of an empirical research report: "study design," "measurement," and "data analysis." Not all concepts in a study fit neatly into those three areas, but many do. Some concepts also belong both in design and in analysis because the design phase of many studies includes the consideration of methods for analyzing the data. The focus here is on how to explain complex concepts for readers who are not expected to know what they are. This brief provides guidelines for communicating with these audiences. A glossary of common concepts is included. The intent of the glossary is to illuminate how complex concepts can be made simpler. The concepts are grouped into "design," "measurement," and "analysis." The glossary shows how a concept might be used as jargon, explains what the concept is, and shows how the concept might be written in simpler language. The examples are likely to be found in contemporary education evaluations.
National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Available from: ED Pubs. P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Tel: 877-433-7827; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (ED)
IES Funded: Yes