Penuel, W. R., Frank, K. A., Fishman, B. J., Sabelli, N., & Cheng, B. (2009). Expanding the Scope of Implementation Research in Education to Inform Design. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.
In this paper, we present a vision for implementation research in education that can inform all stages of program development. We present examples of implementation research that have performed three potential functions can serve to have a greater impact on practice: (1) identify problems of practice that can become targets of design, (2) bridge gaps between current system capacity and ambitious visions for change reflected in curricular reforms, and (3) test experimentally contrasting models of implementation support. These functions expand the scope for implementation research in education, since the functions rarely are central in sociological analyses of implementation or in current approaches to measuring and analyzing fidelity of implementation advocated by proponents of experimental research on program efficacy. In addition, by taking both curricular interventions and contexts of implementation as objects of design and study, this kind of forward-looking implementation research can inform the process of system level changes in education in ways that improve implementation of curricular interventions.