How does the context of research influence the use of educational research in policy making and practice?

This paper presents results from a survey of Romanian education researchers on their experience of research uptake and transfer to policy makers and practitioners. A range of variables are analysed in order to understand the factors they perceived to influence the use of educational research. The researchers’ context was analysed, including factors such as conceptions of the academic role, funding, type of research and collaboration in research. An adaptation of the research utilisation scale (Knott and Wildavsky in Knowl Creat Diffus Util 1(4):537–578, 1980; Cherney et al. in Int J Educ Res 56:23–34, 2012) survey was administered to a sample of 115 academics from 17 public universities in Romania, representing 31% of the total number of academics in schools of education. The quantitative data were complemented with qualitative data derived from in depth interviews with 14 university managers from the main research-intensive universities. The results indicate that researchers’ context is a determinant key of research mobilisation in practice. Despite the importance given to this aspect by the researchers, the lack of institutional coherent strategies to enhance the research transfer and use could represent constraints and challenges that are often faced when academics engage in research aimed at influencing policy and practice.

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