Frequently asked questions

How do I join Evidence for the Frontline?

If you are a member of staff in one of our pilot schools, then simply choose your school from the drop-down list, and follow the instructions for registration. If you are from a different school or organisation, unfortunately you will not be able to join Evidence for the Frontline during the pilot year. To be kept informed of developments with Evidence for the Frontline, please contact us.

What do you mean by ‘a’ member of staff”?

Evidence for the Frontline is open to all staff in the school, as well as school governors. However, to register on the site, you must have an email address that uses your school’s website domain (eg, you@your-school-name.com).

I have registered, how do I ask a question?

You can ask a question here. Before doing so, why not search for existing questions that may already have been answered, and check our tips for asking good questions.

What can I ask a question about?

Evidence for the Frontline aims to provide you with answers from education research. So, your question should be one that education research might be able to answer. These will mostly be pedagogical questions, around what happens in the classroom. We are unlikely to be able to help with administrative, financial or personnel questions. If you are in doubt, please submit your question, and we will respond.

What happens when I have asked a question?

The question will go through several stages. Firstly, staff from Evidence for the Frontline may contact you to clarify your question, and how it might be answered by research. Then, they will find the best way to answer your question. This could be:

  1. Directing you to resources already available on Evidence for the Frontline (or other web resources);
  2. Forwarding your question to a researcher with expertise in this area; or
  3. Searching for appropriate resources or researchers to help answer the question, with the help of the Institute for Effective Education (IEE) at the University of York.

Whichever route is taken, we will keep you up-to-date with progress on your question. When completed, your question, and the answer, will be posted on Evidence for the Frontline to help others.

How quickly will my question be answered?

This depends on many things, such as how clearly your question has been asked, how precisely it matches existing research, the availability of an appropriate researcher, and so on. There may well be an existing answer to a question that closely matches yours, and we will direct you to this if you haven’t already found it. We will give you regular updates on how your question is progressing.

My question has been answered, but I still need to know more.

Please use our “ask for further dialogue” button, to see if the researcher, or staff from another school, can take this further. We appreciate that using research can be a difficult process, and you may need support along the way. Evidence for the Frontline was created to try and build just such a supportive process. Researchers and schools are giving their time voluntarily, so please be understanding if they are not able to help you.

Is the approach taken by Evidence for the Frontline itself based on research?

Yes, recent research has shown that simply providing access to research literature is no guarantee that it will be used effectively to improve teaching practice. Instead, having the opportunity to discuss research helps practitioners gain a deeper understanding and sense of ownership of the findings, and in doing so, enables evidence to be integrated more effectively in professional settings.

This is an emerging field, and one that is of increasing interest as more research becomes available, and attention turns to putting this research into practice. Some examples of recent studies in this area include:

Walter I, Nutley S and Davis H (2005), What Works to Promote Evidence-based Practice? A Cross-sector Review. Evidence and Policy 1(3) 335-364.

Timperley H and Alton-Lee A (2008), Reframing Teacher Professional Learning: An Alternative Policy Approach to Strengthening Valued Outcomes for Diverse Learners. Review of Research in Education 32 328-369.

Slavin R et al (2013), Effects of a Data-Driven District Reform Model on State Assessment Outcomes. American Educational Research Journal 50(2) 371-396, available here.

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