Evidence-Informed Educational Practice in Catalan Education: From Public Agenda to Teachers’ Practice

  • Georgeta Ion Department of Applied Pedagogy, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Center for Research and Studies for Organizational Development, Spain
  • Cecilia Inés Suárez Department of Applied Pedagogy, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Center for Research and Studies for Organizational Development, Spain https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3110-2133
  • Anna Diaz Vicario Department of Applied Pedagogy, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Center for Research and Studies for Organizational Development, Spain https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3389-4138
Keywords: educational research, evidence-informed practice, research use, teachers use of evidence


Catalonia has a long tradition of school innovation movements. These have increased in recent years as public administration and private entities have initiated substantial school reforms oriented toward the use of evidence in teaching practice. As the Catalan education system is highly autonomous, not all schools have embraced the evidence-informed practice (EIP) movement, and this has created differences between schools that choose to implement a change or innovation based on scientifically demonstrated evidence and those that do not. In the present paper, we will attempt to understand the current state of the inclusion of evidence-informed practice in Catalonia and to assess teachers’ perceptions of its adoption as part of their daily practice. In order to address these issues, we start by exploring the legal and structural framework grounding the implementation of evidence-informed practice in the Catalan system, and through interviews conducted in a sample of primary school leaders and teachers, we approach the organisational and individual level to explore the opportunities to implement an authentic evidence-informed practice approach in the Catalan education system.


Download data is not yet available.


Armstrong, P. W., Brown, C., & Chapman, C. J. (2020). School‐to‐school collaboration in England: A configurative review of the empirical evidence. Review of Education. https://doi.org/10.1002/rev3.3248

Best, A., & Holmes, B. (2010). Systems thinking, knowledge and action: Towards better models and methods. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 6(2), 145–159. https://doi.org/10.1332/174426410X502284

Brown, C. (2012). The ‘Policy-Preferences Model’: A new perspective on how researchers can facilitate the take-up of evidence by educational policy makers. The Policy Press, 8(4), 455–72.

Brown, C. (2020). The networked school leader: How to improve teaching and student outcomes using learning networks. Emerald.

Burkhardt, H., & Schoenfeld, A. (2003). Improving educational research: Toward a more useful, more influential, and better-funded enterprise. Educational Researcher, 32(9), 3–14. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X032009003

Cain, T., Brindley, S., Brown, C., Jones G., & Riga, F. (2019). Bounded decision-making, teachers’ reflection, and organisational learning: How research can inform teachers and teaching. British Educational Research Journal, 45(5), 1072–1087.

Cain, T. (2015). Teachers’ engagement with published research: Addressing the knowledge problem. Curriculum Journal, 26(3),488–509.

Chapman, C., & Ainscow, M. (2019). Using research to promote equity within education systems: Possibilities and barriers. British Educational Research Journal, 45(5), 899–917 https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02912503

Estabrooks, C. A., Thompson, D., Lovely, J. E., & Hofmeyer, A. (2006). A guide to knowledge translation theory. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 26(1), 25–36. https://doi.org/10.1002/chp.48

Flores, M. A. (2018). Linking teaching and research in initial teacher education: Knowledge mobilisation and research-informed practice. Journal of Education for Teaching, 44(5), 621–636. https://doi.org/10.1080/02607476.2018.1516351

Huberman, M., & Miles, M. (2000). Métodos para el manejo y el análisis de datos [Methods of data analysis. Through the corners. Anthology of qualitative methods in social research]. In C. A. Denman & J. A. Haro (Eds.), Por los rincones. Antología de métodos cualitativos en la investigación social (pp. 253–301). El Colegio de Sonora.

Huberman, M., & Thurler, G. (1991). De la recherche à la pratique. Eléments de base [From research to practice. Basic elements]. Revue Française de Pédagogie, 98(1), 69–82. https://doi.org/10.3406/rfp.1992.1335

Iftimescu, S., Ion, G., Proteasa, C., Iucu, R., Marin, E., & Stîngu, M. (2020). Closing the circle: Research and policymaking in education. In A. Curaj, L. Deca, & R. Pricopie (Eds.), European higher education area: Challenges for a new decade. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-56316-5_21

Ion, G., & Lopez, E. (in press). Mapping characteristics for evidence-informed schools: Initiative, support and shared reflection. School effectiveness and school improvement.

Ion, G., Gairín, J., & Lopez, E. (2020). Les evidències científiques com a font d’aprenentatge profesional per a la millora educativa [Scientific evidence as a source of professional learning for educational improvement]. In C. Lindín, M. B. Esteban, J. C. F. Bergmann, N. Castells, & P. Rivera-Vargas (Eds.), Llibre d’actes de la I Conferència Internacional de Recerca en Educació. Educació 2019: reptes, tendències i compromisos (pp. 760–768). LiberLibro.

Landry, R., Nabil, A., & Moktar, L. (2001). Climbing the ladder of research utilization: Evidence from social science research. Science Communication, 22(4), 396–422. https://doi.org/10.1177/1075547001022004003

Lysenko, L. V., Abrami, P. C., Bernard, R. M., Dagenais, C., & Janosz, M. (2014). Educational research in educational practice: Predictors of use. Canadian Journal of Education, 37(2), 2–26.

Malin, J. R., Brown, C., Ion, G., van Ackeren, I., Bremm, N., Luzmore, R., Flood, J., & Muhammad, G. (2020). World-wide barriers and enablers to achieving evidence-informed practice in education: What can be learnt from Spain, England, the United States, and Germany?. Humanities & Social Science Communications, 7(99). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-020-00587-8

Miles, M., Huberman, M., & Saldaña, J. (2020), Qualitative data analysis. A methods sourcebook (4th ed.). SAGE.

Oh, C. H. (1997). Issues for the new thinking of knowledge utilization: Introductory remarks. Knowledge and Policy, 10(3), 3–10.

Oh, C., & Rich, R. (1996). Explaining use of information in public policymaking. Knowledge and Policy, 9(1), 3–35. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02832231

Patton, M. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods. SAGE.

Perines, H. (2018). ¿Por qué la investigación educativa no impacta en la práctica docente? [Why educational research doesn’t impact on practice?] Estudios Sobre Educación, 34, 9–27.

Rich, R. (1991). Knowledge creation, diffusion, and utilization. Knowledge, 12(3), 319–337. https://doi.org/10.1177/107554709101200308

Saha, L. J., Biddle, B. J., & Anderson, D. S. (1995). Attitudes towards educational research knowledge and policymaking among American and Australian school principals. International Journal of Educational Research, 23, 113–126. https://doi.org/10.1016/0883-0355(95)91496-4

Saquipi, B., & Vogrinc, J. (2020). The development of teacher research as a form of developing teacher pedagogical practice. Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal, 10(3), 5–9.

Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Sage.

Valles, M. S. (2009). Entrevistas cualitativas [Qualitative interviews]. Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas, CIS.

Vanderlinde, R., & van Braak, J. (2010). The gap between educational research and practice: Views of teachers, school leaders, intermediaries and researchers. British Educational Research Journal, 36(2), 299–316. https://doi.org/10.1080/001411920902919257

Verger, A. (2014). Why do policy-makers adopt global education policies? Toward a research framework on the varying role of ideas in education reform. Current Issues in Comparative Education, 16(2), 14–29.

Weiss, C. H. (1979). The many meanings of research utilisation. Public Administration Review, 39(5)426–431. https://doi.org/10.2307/3109916

Williams, D., & Coles L. (2007). Teachers’ approaches to finding and using research evidence: An information literacy perspective. Educational Research, 49(2), 185–206. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131880701369719