Research Schools: Grounding Research in Educational Practice


Christina Hinton, Larsen Hall 103, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA 02138; e-mail:


ABSTRACT— Education lacks a strong infrastructure for connecting research with educational practice and policy. The need for this linkage grows as findings in cognitive science and biology become ever more relevant to education. Teachers often lack the background knowledge needed to interpret scientific results, whereas scientists often lack an understanding of pedagogical goals. We need to build an infrastructure that supports sustainable collaboration between researchers and teachers and creates a strong research foundation for education. A primary agent of the lasting collaboration between researchers and practitioners in medicine is the teaching hospital, where researchers and practitioners work together on research that is relevant to practice and the training of young professionals. Education needs analogous institutions—research schools—that join researchers and teachers in living, community-based schools. In these schools, practice shapes research as much as research informs practice. Research schools will provide a fundamental infrastructure for linking transdisciplinary research on learning with educational policy and practice.