Making Connections Between Research and Practice By Jennifer McMaken – Article Review

In recent years, experts have taken a particular interest in research and the integral role it is thought to play in as far as developing viable solutions is concerned. Nonetheless, a clear and distinct connection has been established between research and actual practice in the field. This explicit link is thought to be the reason why most research undertakings end up being successful, producing novel solutions that have gone to aid many in their quest. In Jennifer McMaken and Andrew Porter’s article dubbed “Making Connections Between Research and Practice,” the researchers seek to introduce a new perspective to this whole argument. This article review seeks to provide a comparison of the supply versus the demand explanation presented and action research as per the text.

One of the most important undertakings that need to always be underscored when establishing research protocol is paying close attention to the level of influence that it will likely have on the intended target demography. The purpose of this technique is making certain that those who will eventually receive the final product actually acknowledge the cumulative benefits that the research has been able to bring (In Blackshields et al., 2015). The action research found in the text seeks to elucidate this approach by providing the first hypothesis espousing the importance of implementing research at the instruction level before ultimately allowing the information gathered to be put together in the development of the final product. In this respect, research carried out in the past was always going wrong since the focus was on classroom instruction, a final product. Exploring all aspects of supply would have been advantageous to this quest since research-based programs would first go through a testing phase to establish their feasibility. Instructors would, therefore, be involved in the process from the very start and will have an easier time knowing what actually works and pitfalls that need to be avoided.

Supply versus demand in the context of education research often involves long periods of probing areas that might be of particular interest to the subject matter while involving influential figures. The amount of time spent on setting the ground rules has often been found to be having a direct correlation with the end product that researchers eventually present. An area of particular interest most recently has been on the individuals driving this change. Having the so-called “ideal” leader conducting these projects has been emphasized upon and viewed as a precursor to the development of policy’s that actually do work. According to Jennifer McMaken and Andrew Porter, the involving charismatic individuals during the supply phase often results in better outcomes (Porter & Mcmaken, 2009).  This also serves as their second hypothesis where they explore the effect that such individuals have on standards-based reform. It is common knowledge that influence goes a long way in the implementation of working principles. They usually at the forefront of policy development and practice as was the case with Marshall Smith during his stint at the NSF Education and Human resource directorate. The influence that he wielded is a major reason why he was able to thrive in enforcing systematic reforms that have had lasting effects on the education sector.

Research has to be viewed through the lens of legitimacy and the amount of input that needs to be put into it. Such an approach has been vital in informing decisions made by experts in as far as demand and supply were concerned. In this regard, any practitioner wishing for any commendable results had to make sure that the right individuals were placed at the helm of investigations being made to ensure that they finally delivered quality policies. Pursuant to this point of view, the third hypothesis seeks to incorporate the use of practitioners with relevant knowledge on the field and ready to put their expertise to good use. Such individuals are an added benefit for the cause of improved policy and workable reforms since they seek to provide practical solutions to solve psychometric problems. An example of this has been seen in the continued use of the hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) by practitioners in highly competitive environments. The result has been the development of an overall ability to analyze any data set in education which was hierarchically nested. Such advances, in a relatively short period, have now made it possible to implement improved techniques at the demand stage which ultimately fosters practical use in a psychometric community.

Reforms in the education sector should always involve an in-depth evaluation of their effectiveness and usability since demand often relies on the level of welcome that it would enjoy during instruction. Any policy that needs to be implemented needs to first focus on the end product if any progress is to be made. This is due to the integral nature of the demand side of things that often plays a major role in whether or not the changes are ultimately accepted into the mainstream. The fourth hypothesis focuses on this integral bit of the whole process by advocating reasons that include a policy’s effect on student achievement. Students are a key part of this whole process since it is they who are ultimately affected by any reforms that may be brought forth. Any beliefs held by reformers need to be put in the student’s perspective to ensure that the priorities are placed in their order of importance (Porter & Mcmaken, 2009). Good education research on the supply side of things backs up its demand through the formulation of big ideas that can improve the school climate in general. The relative scale and quality of research, therefore, serve as an area of importance to practitioners whose end goal is to ensure the provision of high-end education.

The inclusion of fresh approaches in education has often been an area of great interest for proponents of nascent ideas. Their inclusion often means that a direct connection is made between supply and demand, notwithstanding the influence that it will eventually have on the quality of education provided. Students require the implementation of these techniques in their school regimen since demand is usually high and the benefits often noticeable. A motivation for change thus serves as the fifth hypothesis since its discharge ensures that practitioners invest in change. Technology and its use in the promotion of fundamental education practices have generally stalled owing to a limited investment on the much-needed change. Its benefits on the demand side will only be acknowledged if a shift in perception takes place, involving the professional development of curriculum using technology.

A paradigm shift involving the passing of merits from one leader to the next has often been seen as a major way in which reforms are affected the education sector. According to Jennifer McMaken and Andrew Porter, it is fundamental to consider demand and supply whenever connections linking research and practice in education are being sought. In essence, the authors of this article acknowledge the fact that, for the longest time, those involved in such processes had the issues misconstrued. The focus was only placed on the research bit representing supply while ignoring the demand and need for such solutions on the ground. The sixth hypothesis underscores the vitality of formal and informal networks since it is through them that any feasible implementation takes place. Reforms end up passing from one leader to the next and promptly implemented for the benefit of all those involved.


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