Newswise — Washington, July 8, 2020—As education researchers’ ongoing work is interrupted by school closures, what can they do to support education and public health institutions dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic? An article published today in Educational Researcher aims to answer that question, providing recommendations based on conversations with public health officials, state and local policymakers, educational leaders, directors of national education organizations, and researchers across disciplines. Educational Researcher is a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association. 

“The education research community has unique potential to provide immediate aid to public health researchers as well as state education agencies, districts, and schools faced with the urgent challenge of providing remote instruction and services,” said article coauthor David DeMatthews, an associate professor of educational leadership and policy at the University of Texas at Austin. “This aid may require researchers to take the lead, work shoulder-to-shoulder with education organizations, or play a support role. They must also prepare for a future when schools reopen perhaps under significantly different conditions, and possibly for a short period before returning to remote learning.”

DeMatthews’s coauthors include David Knight (University of Washington), Pedro Reyes (University of Texas at Austin), Amber Benedict (Arizona State University), and Rebecca Callahan (University of Texas at Austin). 

The authors’ recommendations are grouped into the following categories.

  • Education researchers can provide research support to the medical and public health fields in their Covid-19 efforts.
  • Education researchers can support education leaders by synthesizing and translating research. 
  • Education researchers can organize and develop timely professional development opportunities for educators, schools, and districts. 
  • Education researchers are well positioned to partner with state education agencies, districts, and schools to evaluate new practices as schools move instruction online and make recommendations for improvement. 
  • Education researchers can modify or adjust their research projects in the context of the pandemic. 

For details on the recommendations, see the open access Educational Researcher article and the overview of the authors’ recommendations. 

The recommendations, which not intended to be exhaustive, were developed to encourage education researchers to consider how they can inform the knowledge base and support front-line educators and healthcare researchers during this crisis.

“While we grieve the loss of loved ones and colleagues and the freedoms we enjoyed prior to the pandemic, we need to remain steadfast and committed to our work, to research that can and will make a difference in our schools and communities,” said DeMatthews. “Together, education researchers can work collaboratively with public health and educational organizations to make a profound impact, generating innovative ideas that make the world a better place for all, but especially for educators and students.”


About AERA
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. Founded in 1916, AERA advances knowledge about education, encourages scholarly inquiry related to education, and promotes the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. Find AERA on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Journal Link: Educational Researcher