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  • Author or Editor: Jonathan Sharples x
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This paper reports on a ‘proof-of-concept’ for evidence-informed practice, whereby schools are provided with tailored support in accessing research evidence and help in implementing evidencebased approaches. Two aspects of intermediary brokerage are explored: a) creating tailored summary materials for schools, based on education research, and b) developing an iterative process of engagement, whereby leadership teams interact with this information and relate it to practice. The model supports an emerging view of research use as a dynamic and social process, which is enhanced by supportive interactions between research providers and users.

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Target audience:

What Works Centres; other intermediary brokerage agencies; their funders and users; and researchers of research use.

Background:

Knowledge brokerage and knowledge mobilisation (KM) are generic terms used to describe activities to enable the use of research evidence to inform policy, practice and individual decision making. Knowledge brokerage intermediary (KBI) initiatives facilitate such use of research evidence. This debate paper argues that although the work of KBIs is to enable evidence-informed decision making (EIDM), they may not always be overt and consistent in how they follow the principles of EIDM in their own practice.

Key points for discussion:

Drawing on examples from existing brokerage initiatives, four areas are suggested where KBIs could be more evidence-informed in their work: (1) needs analysis: evidence-informed in their analysis of where and how the KBI can best contribute to the existing evidence ecosystem; (2) methods and theories of change: evidence-informed in the methods that the KBI uses to achieve its goals; (3) evidence standards: credible standards for making evidence claims; and (4) evaluation and monitoring: evidence-informed evaluation of their own activities and contribution to the knowledge base on evidence use. For each of these areas, questions are suggested for considering the extent that the principles are being followed in practice.

Conclusions and implications:

KBIs work with evidence but they may not always be evidence-informed in their practice. KBIs could benefit from more overtly attending to the extent that they apply the logic of EIDM to how they work. In doing so, KBIs can advance both the study, and practice, of using research evidence to inform decision making.

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