Author: Hira Shah
‘Ideas are useless unless they are used’
Despite having sundry analysis based seminars, conferences & sessions on the ongoing political, economic and social narratives, the stark gap between the ‘theory and practice’ of policies remains untarnished. A lot is said while comparatively less is done in order to achieve the set objectives of progress and development. With an aim to make ideas accessible and practical for the service of the citizens, it is essential to heave ideas from academia and manifest them in real world so that we can build a just and progressive society through research, dialogue, consultations and social work.
In a world full of dissonance and noise, IPIR’s mission is to gather and impart rigorous evidence that can contribute to a better and more equitable world.
The widening chasm between coursework and field experience can be bridged with the help of extensive research as it facilitates to produce knowledge that is applicable outside of the academic setting. Furthermore, it leads to the results which may have implications for policy and future project implementation. As the basic purpose of research is to initiate an action, hence, one must seek to contextualize the findings within the larger body of research.
Lawrence W Green in his research paper titled, ‘Diffusion theory and knowledge dissemination, utilization, and integration in public health’ writes that the underlying problem is “the production of evidence is organized institutionally with highly centralized mechanisms, whereas the application of that science is highly decentralized. This social distance prevails because scientists are more oriented to the international audiences of other scientists for which they publish than to the needs of practitioners, policy makers, or the local public.”
In order to create a substantial linkage between practice and research community, IPIR designs a framework that outlines the ways through which policymakers and practitioners can define, acquire, interpret, and ultimately use research for the well-being of the community. IPIR sets the stage for the collaboration of the researchers who can produce more useful work, the practitioners who can acquire and use that work productively, and the policymakers who can create the conditions that enable both to occur.
Aletha Huston, in her 2005 Social Policy Report and 2008 SRCD Presidential Address, calls for more useable research. Nancy Guerra, Sandra Graham, and Patrick Tolan (2011) similarly argue for more use-inspired research in their Child Development special issue.
Michael McPherson, president of the Spencer Foundation, which funds education research to inform practice, recently offered this perspective: “This problem of how research becomes effective in practice is itself a social science question of considerable depth and complexity that deserves study in its own right. The paths by which research knowledge in its own way into the daily life of educational organizations, the paths by which practitioner knowledge is brought to bear and made to count in the research process, and the paths by which researchers become interested in problems of genuine importance to practice are complex and hard to understand and warrant systematic analysis and reflection” (McPherson, 2004, p. 8–9).