Who Is Reading
At least with pediatricians, an article published in the journal Pediatrics is read about 10,000 times in the three months following publication. For those among us who send their children to see these professionals, it is comforting to know that pediatricians stay up to date with primary literature. Unfortunately, this finding can not be easily extended to other fields. Medical professionals tend to read more than others as shown in the following figure:
|Above copied from the J Med Libr Assoc. 2004 Apr; 92(2): 233–241|
It is therefore not surprising to see myths abound and linger in the field of education. The general public is not expected to read academic journals but practitioners must be reached by evidence-based research in their respective fields. Pediatricians keep themselves up to date. Teachers need to do the same.In a paper published in The Journal of Educational Research, Sylvester-Dacy and coworkers point out that in major textbooks used in teacher education, only 18 percent are based on good evidence research.This is quite a discouraging and disturbing picture. The other sources are usually books or position papers, secondary sources that often propagate what is popular, anecdotal or trendy, and not what is based on evidence.
Teachers are overworked but pediatricians also have a very tight work schedule yet they are able to find time to read. Thus, there maybe other reasons why academic articles on education and psychology are not being read by educators. In the Philippines, lack of access to these journals is probably a major reason.
Another reason may be deduced from the following table, which highlights the difference between academic articles and other reading materials:
In a scholarly article, the reader is assumed to have a similar scholarly background. It is true that journal articles can easily be seen as conversations between experts. These are usually long and cannot be reduced into sound bites. In short, it takes a lot to read an article from a peer-reviewed journal.
This blog has been reaching out to education practitioners. Most of the articles posted in this blog are based on results or findings reported in peer-reviewed academic literature. The blog's readership has been growing and in the past three years, the blog has been viewed one and a half million times.
|Number of monthly page views of Philippine Basic Education over time|
Whether increasing access to primary literature by providing a blog such as this can improve impact of research on policies is of course another difficult question to address. We can only hope. Policies especially in the Philippines are usually drawn from the top. These are therefore people who already have access as well as resources to read primary literature. Here, a more important reason emerges on why education policies are usually not based or informed by research. Policies are usually made out of preference and not evidence.
This blog cannot change the minds that are already set. This blog can only hope to inform those who are in the ground and it is rewarding to hear from teachers who have spent some time reading my posts. Thank you very much. This blog is for you.