REL Northeast & Islands


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Developing a Coherent Research Agenda: Lessons from the REL Northeast & Islands Research Agenda Workshops


In 2012, eight groups of educators across New England, New York, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands began meeting with REL Northeast & Islands researchers to create five-year agendas to address research gaps in several education priority areas—educator effectiveness, low-performing schools, equity and special populations, and college and career readiness.

This report describes the approach that REL Northeast & Islands used to guide these research alliances toward collaboratively identifying research questions and agreeing on a shared agenda. The researchers conducted a series of two workshops for each alliance—virtually and face to face—guiding practitioners and policymakers with varying backgrounds to settle on a set of questions with the potential to influence policy and practice. The process described in this report is a highly collaborative one: Researchers and practitioners work together to establish a common research focus by identifying and agreeing on the central questions that will guide research projects.

The report also includes lessons learned from the alliances who used the workshop materials—an agenda, a participant workbook, and a facilitator’s guide with references to an accompanying slide deck. The report, the materials and a related 10-minute multimedia presentation—Developing a Research Agenda: Experiences of REL Northeast & Islands—are made freely available as a resource for teams or groups seeking to establish similar research alliances. These may include other Regional Educational Laboratories, school districts working with university partners, and other external researchers who would like to establish a common research focus in collaboration with educators in their area.

View the report here.

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Adaptable Slide Deck (PowerPoint)

Facilitator and Participant Guides (MS Word)

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