Research inaccessible in two ways

Over at The Education Sector Erin Dillon posts about this week’s AERA annual meeting –her first– and says that “while the discussion about relevance and getting research into the hands of decision makers was encouraging, it doesn’t change the fact that much of the research coming out of the education research community is inaccessible.”

She says it’s inaccessible for two reasons: “Because of the overly-complicated, technical language used, and also is literally inaccessible—locked away in journals too costly for anyone but universities to access on a large scale.”

Erin suggests that researchers should keep in mind “that they are, in essence, selling their research to policymakers and practitioners. And if you’re trying to sell something, you take the product to your customer and you sell it in their language, not expect your customer to start speaking yours.”

Erin is far from alone in this view. The same theme was raised repeatedly during the course of the annual meeting. AERA’s communication and outreach committee and government relations committee have their work cut out for them.

I’m now on the communication and research committee, and take Erin’s comments to heart.

I wish I could assume the other committee folks would see your post. But I can’t assume that, so I’d encourage you, and others concerned about this topic, to shoot ‘em an email.


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