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Harvard Graduate School of Education

Using Research to Inform Decisions

Aug 12—25
USD 149

How it works


Learn how to find, evaluate, and apply research relevant to decisions in your district.


Federal guidelines now ask school and district staff to use research evidence when making decisions about policies and programs. Despite these realities, finding and using solid research can be a difficult task.

Using Research to Inform Decisions will guide you in how to find and evaluate pertinent research, with a constant eye toward how such research can be used to inform various school- and district-level decisions. The workshop provides an overview of how practitioners use research and offers several simple tools to help you find the study you need. You will also learn strategies and structures that help foster an environment where research truly informs decision-making.

This two-week online workshop is led by HGSE Professor Heather Hill, University of Colorado Professor Bill Penuel, and other leaders in the field. Video lectures, readings, facilitated online discussions, and exploration exercises will help you engage with research and gain confidence in using evidence to make sound decisions.

Program Details

This two-week online workshop includes a mix of self-paced learning, group discussion, and job-embedded application. Activities include:

  • Video lectures from Heather Hill, University of Colorado professors Bill Penuel and Derek Briggs, Northwestern University professor Cynthia Coburn, and the National Center for Research in Policy and Practice project director Caitlin Farrell
  • Readings of various research articles and white papers
  • Facilitated online discussions
  • Exploration exercises
  • Job-embedded practice where you will apply the concepts and techniques learned*

A core part of the HGSE experience is cohort learning, and this curriculum is designed to create a community of practice for participants to learn with and from each other.

The online workshop will require a total of 5-7 hours of work. Participants who complete all individual assessments and contribute to group discussions will receive a certificate indicating completion of five clock hours of instruction.

Note: all content is self-paced, including group discussions. Facilitators will moderate discussion boards throughout the two-week program.


  • Explore the nature of research use and current national patterns in research use
  • Learn how to find relevant research and read it accurately
  • Evaluate research design, and be able to judge the credibility of the research
  • Implement strategies for increasing the use of evidence within your own educational setting

Who should attend

  • Leaders of districts or schools
  • Decision-makers in the district including Directors of Research, Curriculum and Instruction, and Special Education
  • State education officials
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Heather C. Hill studies policies and programs designed to improve mathematics teacher and teaching quality. Her recent research focuses on: teacher professional development, instructional coaching, teacher evaluation, changes over time in teachers' mathematical knowledge and instructional quality...