Actionable Research & How It Can Improve the Study and Practice of Educational Administration + Leadership

Early on in grad school, I had one important realization about my future as an educational administration researcher.

Many of the foundational articles and books I read on this subject more or less pointed to one major issue, which is that the field of educational administration and leadership is over-saturated with theoretical debate and intellectual critique. Meanwhile, there are not enough concrete examples of how these theories might be applied to administrative practice. This disconnect between administrative theory and practice is one of the most persistent issues in the field today.

That is to say, as a discipline, we're all talk and no action. 

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So what is this realization I had?

I realized that the only kind of research projects worth embarking on were projects that were going to either inspire others to create, design, or think differently in the field of educational administration and leadership. This belief not only provides an additional challenge for myself as the researcher, but it's the reason I created this blog in the first place - to disseminate actionable ideas that might close the gap between theory and practice.

All that to say: I want my research to do something for people.

So how do I do that? I look at every research article, blog post, e-book, etc. that I have and will ever write as an opportunity to provide inspirational and useful information that other educational administration researchers and practitioners can take away and create tangible change in their own research and practice.

Here are a few ideas of how you might make your own research actionable:

  • List specific recommendations in the conclusion section of your research article(s) on how administrators might implement your ideas in their own research and practice
  • Design projects that spark conversation and invite participation to get others involved in your research (e.g. see my Adminibrary project as an example)
  • Share your research with a broader audience by making use of technology and social media. e.g. via a blog, YouTube, Twitter, publishing in education magazines, websites, etc.

All research in the field of educational administration and leadership is valid and relevant in some way to the ways in which we known and understand the field. But as we look to the future, I believe it's important that we share our ideas and promote creative solutions to today's educational challenges. 

Did you get any ideas for how you might make your own research actionable? Are there any steps you can take today to communicate your research to broader audiences?

C. Valentine