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What Counts as Research Evidence? Educational Leaders' Reports of the Research They Use

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This study examines the sources of research that 367 district and school leaders named as useful to their work on a nationally representative survey. Approximately half of sources named by leaders represented original research or theoretical analyses. Other sources consisted of evidence-informed frameworks that cited other existing evidence, and, to a lesser extent, frameworks and implementation guides that cited only anecdotal evidence or did not cite evidence at all. A small portion of sources named would qualify for the three “tiers of evidence” required by the Every Student Succeeds Act for selecting interventions. This descriptive analysis offers insights into the meaning behind reports of education leaders’ research use.


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