Educational research and policy: Epistemological considerations

Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (s1):41-62 (2008)
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Abstract

This article is centrally concerned with the sort of knowledge that can and should inform educational policy—and it treats this as an epistemological question. It distinguishes this question from the more extensively explored question of what sort of knowledge in what form policy-makers do in fact commonly take into account. The article examines the logical and rhetorical character of policy and the components of policy decisions and argues that policy demands a much wider range of information than research typically provides. Either the research task or commission has to be substantially extended or the gap will be filled by information or thinking that is not derived from research. One of the gaps between research of an empirical kind and policy is the normative gap. In the final section the article points to the inescapably normative character of educational policy. Of course the values that inform policy can be investigated empirically, but this kind of enquiry cannot tell us what we should do. There is a role for research/scholarship and more rather than less intelligent and critical argumentation in addressing these normative questions as well as the empirical questions that underpin policy.

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Citations of this work

Education(al) Research, Educational Policy-Making and Practice.Charles Clark - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 45 (1):37-57.
Alluring Ideas: Cherry Picking Policy from Around the World.Carrie Winstanley - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 46 (4):516-531.
The General in the Particular.Andrés Mejía - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 44 (1):93-107.

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References found in this work

Politics and Policy Making in Education.Stephen J. Ball - 1991 - British Journal of Educational Studies 39 (4):450-453.
What schools are for and why.John White - 2007 - Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain IMPACT pamphlet No 14.
Prescribing teaching methods.A. Davis - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 33 (3):387–401.
Philosophy and Educational Policy: A Critical Introduction.Christopher Winch & John Gingell - 2006 - British Journal of Educational Studies 54 (1):108-110.

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