Internet insights

21st July 2000 at 01:00
RESEARCH has always had less of an impact on professional work than researchers would like. The low take-up of findings has itself become a regular research topic.

Steven Miller and Marcel Fredericks, from Loyola University in Chicago, claim to have a new angle on the question. It's not that research can't be turned into practice - the problem is that something usually gets lost in the translation.

Put in simple terms, their analysis describes researchers reporting what "is" and policy-makers trying to bring about what "ought" to be. The result is two languages, two approaches and two mindsets.

The same problems, or the same research results, look quite different to the two sets of professionals. Miller and Fredericks suggest that researchers who want to bring about particular changes in policy might do better to abandon research and run for public office. The full article, from the Education Policy Analysis Archives at Arizona State University, is available at: http:epaa.asu.eduepaav8n3

The Reading Wars, it seems, are still raging. The Reading Village has a web page on the edge of the bttle zone. It was set up by five postgraduate educational researchers from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, to help teacher-trainers, teachers and parents become more informed about helping children to read. It can be found at: http:teams.lacoe.eduvillagewelcome.html

"Are the Reading Wars over?", featured on its research page, is a belligerent article by one of the front-line combatants, Onkar Ghate, of the Ayn Rand Institute in California. As he compares the use of holistic methods with feeding children on poison, the answer is obviously "no". Ghate much prefers training in phonics.

A more measured piece from the United States Department of Education's office of educational research suggests that parents should tell family stories, limit television and get their children to join a library.

The Onkar Ghate piece is linked in from http:www.aynrand.orgmedialinkreading.html. The Department of Education piece is at: http:www.ed.govpubsparentsReadingindex.html

Readers can email suggestions on future Internet Insights to Sam Saunders at

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