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ERIC Number: ED612257
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2020-Dec
Pages: 52
Abstractor: As Provided
The Role of Organizational Routines in Research Use in Four Large Urban School Districts. Technical Report No. 5
Coburn, Cynthia E.; Spillane, James P.; Bohannon, Angel X.; Allen, Anna-Ruth; Ceperich, Riley; Beneke, Abigail; Wong, Lok-Sze
National Center for Research in Policy and Practice
School district central offices make consequential decisions about teaching and learning every day that impact the educational opportunities and outcomes for millions of students in our nation's public schools. Given the consequential nature of these decisions, it is important that district leaders use the highest quality research, alongside other forms of information, to support their decision- making about instruction. But there is considerable variability in what and how district leaders use research. This raises the question: What conditions enable school district leaders to use research, alongside other forms of information, in their decision-making? In this report, we focus on organizational routines, which are a central medium through which instructional decisions are made in school districts. Routines may matter for research use because they bring particular people together at particular moments in the decision-making process, shaping what and how decisions are made, and likely the role of research therein. However, organizational routines have received little attention in existing scholarship on research use. We employed a comparative case study approach of four large districts. These districts vary in two dimensions - the extent to which they drew on external sources of research, and the presence of organizational routines - that prior theory suggested mattered for research use. Data collection involved interviews of district leaders on their decision-making in mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) at the elementary level. For this report, we focused on 140 interviews with district leaders that related to district organizational routines around ELA professional development. In all four districts, district leaders accomplished the complex work of instructional decision-making around ELA professional development by using multiple, interrelated, routines that both divided up decision-making into different tasks and also connected decision-making between individual routines. Districts divided-up the disparate work of decision-making into three different types of routines: design, deployment, and diagnosis. All four districts drew on common sources for information, including data, research, individuals, and organizations. But, each district had distinct portraits of information use in their decision-making. They varied in the number of distinct information sources (range), the relative distribution of information types (balance), and the degree to which a fewer or larger number of district leaders invoked research and other forms of information (spread).
National Center for Research in Policy and Practice. Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: National Center for Research in Policy and Practice (NCRPP); University of Colorado Boulder (UCB), School of Education; Northwestern University, School of Education and Social Policy; Harvard University, Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR)
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305C140008