Over the last 20 years, state education agencies (SEAs) have been given considerably more responsibilities for directing and guiding the improvement of low-performing schools. At the same time, federal policies strongly pressed SEAs to use research to design these supports. Very few studies have explored the SEA as an organization, or its role in accessing and using research. Likewise, few, if any, have studied the role of social networks in the organization and flow of information in SEAs. This exploratory study was designed to fill those gaps by examining where and how a purposive sample of three SEAs searched for, incorporated, and used research and other types of knowledge to design, implement, and refine state school improvement policies, programs and practices.