Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Susan Gapp


Educational research has been around for over one hundred years and has faced periods of optimism, pessimism, and skepticism. Currently, there is a plethora of educational research available for teachers and districts to use. However, there is a research-practice gap. This gap refers to the amount of research available and educators using the research in their own teaching practices. They are many theories on why this gap exists and how to close it. Therefore, the purpose of this basic qualitative inquiry was to explore K-3 teachers’ relationships to and experiences with the use of educational research. Further, the study looked at the role research plays in primary teachers’ classrooms, how teachers access research, and the value they place on using educational research. Lastly, the study addressed how teachers are exposed to research throughout their careers and their feelings associated with the use of research. Teacher interviews and focus groups were conducted with participants from two large school districts in North Dakota. Conclusions from the study showed that teachers value research but often find it difficult to apply in different conditions than those in the study. Further, teachers want to use research but must overcome several barriers to do so. Teachers rely on others to provide them with research but do feel the need to grow as educators and be lifelong learners. Lastly, the study found that when teachers locate, access, and implement research, they rely on their schools and districts to provide the research, curriculum, and training or else turn to social media, peers, and other sources to gather information. With all the changes each year in education, teachers emphasized the need to be lifelong learners. Overall, districts need to encourage the use of research and act as liaisons between researchers and teachers. Additionally, schools need to make research accessible to teachers and make research use a priority.

Subject Categories



Educational research, K-3 teachers

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota

Included in

Education Commons



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