David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Educational Theory 61 (5):515-532 (2011)
There exists a vast literature on evidence-based practice (EBP) in education. The debate branches out in several directions, for example, what EBP entails for the nature of educational practice, what it entails for the teaching profession, what counts as use and abuse of evidence, and what educational research could or should contribute to a what works kind of practice. In this essay Tone Kvernbekk focuses on the fate of the concept of evidence in the debate, observing that the concept seems, by and large, to be missing from the debate. She argues that educational debates about EBP stand to gain in nuance and depth from employing philosophical insights about evidence. Kvernbekk develops this claim by discussing different conceptions of evidence and by inquiring into three aspects of the evidentiary relation: the meaning of “based,” underdetermination, and the relativization of evidence.
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