The Research and Teacher Learning Study

Research Questions

What is Involved in Teaching?
How can Teacher Education Help?
How Can Professional Development Help?
How Can Policy Help?
How Can Research Help?
How can we Improve Research?

Research Projects

Teacher Qualifications and the Quality of Teaching
Class Acts
Research and Teacher Learning
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning
Teacher Education and Learning to Teach
Local Uses of Evidence
Evaluations of Federal Programs


Michigan State University
College of Education
Graduate Program in Teacher Education
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning



The RTL Study addresses my long-abiding interest in how people read and respond to research. Education researchers have nearly always felt that their work was under-appreciated and under-used. There has been much hand wringing about the role of research in education. Funding agencies are skeptical about the value of education research, and many writers have proposed ways to make research more useful. But their solutions are wildly different. One author argues that if we produce more hard-nosed experimental studies, our findings would be more definitive and hence would find a more receptive audience. Another argues that if we write more narratives our findings will match the natural thought processes of human beings and will therefore find a more receptive audience.

The Research and Teacher Learning (RTL) Study examined these issues by asking teachers to read and respond to a number of studies. The study was funded by the United States Department of Education, and my collaborator in this study was John Zeuli. Together, we interviewed over a hundred teachers. Each teacher read five research articles representing a variety of approaches to research. When we then interviewed them, we asked about the persuasiveness of each study and about the relevance of each study to their work. The teachers who participated had had a variety of kinds of exposure to research. Some had taken university courses in reading research, some had conducted research of their own. Some did research as part of a Masters Degree Thesis and others had conducted action research in their own classrooms.

Some of the papers I described on my page about the role and value of educational research came from this study. I am attaching here two early documents that describe the main findings from this study

Main findings regarding how teachers read research

Main findings regarding how teachers do research of their own