Current policies place unprecedented demands on districts to use evidence to guide their educational improvement efforts. How districts respond is likely to be influenced by how individuals in the district conceptualize what it means to use evidence in their ongoing work. This study draws on sensemaking and institutional theory to investigate how individuals in one urban school district conceive of evidence-based practice. The study develops grounded typologies that describe the ways that individuals conceptualize high-quality evidence, appropriate evidence use, and high-quality research. It then explains variation in conceptions, pointing to the ways organizational responsibilities and reform history shape how individuals come to understand evidence-based practice. The article closes by suggesting implications for district response to federal policy demands for evidence-based practice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas