Building bridges in place of barriers between school practitioners and researchers: on the role of embedded intermediaries in promoting evidence-based policy

Hagit Sabo Brants, Barak Ariel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The literature on evidence-based policy in education offers insight into the need to form partnerships between researchers and practitioners with particular attention to the role of intermediaries. However, the operationalisation of the partnership, especially in school violence prevention, the focal policy of this research, remains unclear. Objectives: To identify potential intermediaries and explore their role in forming an evidence-based school violence prevention policy. Method: In-depth interviews with headteachers and members of school executive teams in Israel. Findings: The participants discussed three types of possible intermediaries that could facilitate a relationship between researchers and practitioners - internal inspectors, school counsellors, and external academics. Discussion and conclusions: We concluded that embedded intermediaries are needed to form a bridge between practice and research in the area of school violence prevention. These embedded intermediaries ought to have expertise in research methods, as well as expertise in an educational subject matter, and must be committed to the scientific approach rather than to political or organisational agendas. The formation of the research partnership must be inclusive and marked by the involvement of middle-rank policymakers (for example, headteachers) in the selection of the research questions and methodology and in the implementation of policy implications. Otherwise, evidence-based policy is unlikely to take root.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)465-484
Number of pages20
JournalEvidence and Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The interviews instrument – albeit semi-structured – was designed to elicit ‘bottom-up’responses from the participants.We first concentrated on the practitioners’ general attitudes toward the use of research evidence in practice. Specifically, we provoked responses about large-scale school-based interventions to prevent school violence that are sponsored and promoted nationally by the Ministry of Education. When a school decides to introduce special measures to prevent violence in the school, the school would implement one of 125 interventions supported by the Ministry of Education. How such interventions are typically selected, however, was previously unknown. It was also unknown how often decisions to implement interventions are affected by existing impact evaluations of effectiveness.Therefore, the first portion of the interview involved asking questions about the extent and relevance of research knowledge in implementing school-based interventions to prevent school violence.

Publisher Copyright:
© Policy Press 2023.


  • evidence-based policy
  • intermediaries
  • schools
  • violence prevention


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