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The Research that Reaches the Public: Who Produces the Educational Research Mentioned in the News Media?

Even people who know or care deeply about schools often lack the time or the inclination to wade through academic journals on education. Instead they get most of their information from the trade press or popular press. Because the research featured in these outlets influences policymakers, practitioners and parents, it is important to know who produces the educational research mentioned in the news media. Of particular interest is the proliferation, in recent decades, of advocacy-oriented private think tanks, many of which eschew traditional, peer-reviewed academic forums such as refereed academic journals or conferences, which are designed to provide a measure of quality control before a research report is finalized and disseminated. They focus instead on actively seeking out publicity in the popular press. A key focus of this report is the degree to which such research is actually represented in popular media outlets.