ITP: Interdisciplinary Training Program in the Education Sciences ITP: Interdisciplinary Training Program in the Education Sciences
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH REQUIREMENT

Link to ITP Translational Workshops

In the ITP program students will learn translational research skills in order to help them facilitate the successful transfer of educational research findings to practice and policy, where the findings from their work may create improvements in education. ITP Fellows will experience translational research and build competencies through thier internship experiences, through coursework, and through particpation in ITP Seminars and Translational Workshops.

What do we mean by translational research?

The act of translating research can take several forms:

  • Translating scientific research for policy makers and practitioners. For example, this could take the form of reviewing research literatures relevant to a particular problem of practice and presenting that review in a form appropriate for a specific non-academic audience or developing and refining a survey tool for use in an applied setting.
  • Producing original research relevant to a particular problem of practice and presenting that review in a form appropriate for a specific non-academic audience.
  • Supporting the design and potentially the conduct of original research relevant to a particular problem of practice and presenting that review in a form appropriate for a specific non-academic audience. Examples could include helping design or evaluate a new curriculum or designing an evaluation of a new disciplinary policy for a school or school district.
  • Bringing educational research ‘to market’ by designing a program, policy or practice informed by research. This design may be in collaboration with a policymaker or practitioner (active engagement) or in coordination with a policymaker or practitioner work (informed by but not in collaboration with the target audience).

Competency in Translational Research

In order to engage in translational research, researchers must communicate effectively with a variety of different audiences- policy makers, practitioners (teachers, administrators, support staff) and other academics. Translation is not only about bringing the research to life; it’s about translating it in a way that can be understood and engaged by different audiences.

Most specifically, translational competencies are defined as: (1) the ability to facilitate the emergence and development of new ideas and (2) the ability to successfully engage with communities that can benefit from research. ITP students will need to demonstrate each of these competencies by obtaining experience in at least two of the following activities (one per competency):

Competency #1: Ability to facilitate the emergence and development of new ideas

  • Work on a multi-disciplinary collaborative team and obtain skills in communication, negotiation, and development of ethical attitudes.
  • Work on a multi-method collaborative team and obtain skills in communication, negotiation, and development of ethical attitudes.

Competency #2: Ability to engage with communities that can benefit from research

  • Learn how to approach policymakers and discuss research, as well as develop ideas and plans for how the findings might inform policy. In turn, learn how to listen to policymakers in order to develop new research endeavors.
  • Learn how to engage practitioners in a discussion about research, as well as develop ideas and plans for how the findings might inform policy. In turn, learn how to listen to practitioners in order to develop new research endeavor.

How will fellows demonstrate their translational competencies?

  • Translation day: One seminar in spring of each year will be dedicated to presenting findings to a broader audience, including policymakers and practitioners. Translation day may take place during the regularly scheduled ITP seminar or may occur at another time we agree on off-site, at the Department of Public Instruction, Madison Metropolitan School District or elsewhere. Each intern will prepare a 10-15 minute presentation and accompanying one- to two-page executive summary of his or her internship experience.
  • Issue briefs written in collaboration with or vetted by practitioner and/or policy maker staff.
  • Documentation of an ongoing relationship with a translational partner, including structured meetings with a policy maker or practitioner to ground the research in an applied setting. This could be evidenced by a journal or blog maintained by the student and/or an issue brief summarizing the application of the work in an applied setting with review or response from the external partner.