01/09/2002 Education Sociology
DOI: 10.1111/1467-8527.t01-1-00209 SemanticScholar ID: 145547037 MAG: 2092104844

Political Control: A Way Forward for Educational Research?

Publication Summary

Educational research in the UK has for some time been criticised in terms of both its relevance and its quality. Indeed, these issues of relevance and quality have been presented by some critics as linked with each other. One way forward that has been suggested is greater political (and thereby user and practitioner) control of research and its funding. This would presumably ensure the immediate practical relevance of future work, encourage flexibility of approach, and remove some responsibility from the ‘dead-hand’ of academic departments of educational research. This paper considers some of the counter-arguments, and contrary evidence, to this approach. It presents examples of projects by teachers, a large-scale study of teacher effectiveness contracted to consultants by the DfEE (as it then was), and of political self-censorship by intellectual fields. On this basis the paper suggests that the link between quality and relevance in research has been exaggerated, and that increasing political control of academic research alone is unlikely to lead to a marked improvement in quality.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Stephen Gorard

Prof. Stephen Gorard

University of Durham - Professor in the School of Education

Share this

Next publication

2009 Psychology

The Dynamics of Category Conjunctions

R. Hutter, R. Crisp, G. Humphreys, Gillian. M. Waters + 1 more