Stanford Opens Its Research Files
so frustrating to get a handle on the pro's and con's of any given change
that's proposed for our schools. As a school board member, I don't feel
comfortable with voting for new programs that are backed up solely by gushing
articles in popular magazines. I want facts! I want data! And I want
scientifically-backed, solid research to aid my decision-making. Where can I
get it, without falling into a black hole of time and expense?
Three cheers for Stanford University's school of education,
where faculty members voted in June
2008 to make their research articles available to the public for free.
to see the articles, expected to be posted in early fall 2008.
The information is aimed at officials who make programming
and spending decisions in school districts, state education departments, and
law-making bodies such as state legislatures. But of course having open access
to all that research is seen as a huge boon for everyday educators,
school-board members, and parents who are trying to get a good grasp on the
So often, there's a gap between the latest research findings
and classroom practice, which is frustrating in this day of instant communications
via the Internet. The culprit: financial concerns.
The vast majority of education journals which carry
important research findings charge a subscription fee, often quite pricey, to
educators and libraries. That makes access to a broad range of quality
education research too expensive for most of those who want the information,
and especially to school board members and parents who are 'way down on the
totem pole and, most often, out of the loop on the latest education
Stanford's research website is expected to come online with
an expected 100 articles per year added to the database, Stanford officials
Part of the motivation for opening the research files to the
public comes from a 2006 federal law, known as the Federal Research
Public Access Act, which requires 11 federal agencies, including the U.S.
Department of Education, to make the results of studies that taxpayers fund
more available and useful.
The move also is well-timed because more and more school
leaders are operating under data-driven decision-making processes. They require
scientifically-sound, empirically-based information on which to base changes in
programming and spending.
Homework: An existing research database
available for free is Education Policy Analysis