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Special Interest Group

Educational Research and Educational Policy-Making

For various historical, political and epistemological reasons (which are well-documented in a range of sources), ‘evidence-based policy’ is not a neutral descriptor but instead seems to have become a highly-charged and polarising idea in educational research, with different factions in the educational research community taking contrasting or even oppositional stances, These stances have been based to some degree on pre-existing ideological and rhetorical positions and have resulted in certain theoretical and methodological stand-offs. This SIG, in taking a wider view of the relationship between research and policy, seeks to create an environment for robust and constructive engagement on how and under what circumstances educational research can or should be seeking to inform the processes of policy-making at different levels. The SIG draws upon a range of philosophical, conceptual and empirical understandings – including in the field of research utilisation and ‘impact’ – in order to (i) establish more nuanced and conducive ‘professional conversations’ and (ii) explore a variety of institutional arrangements, as a basis for developing and influencing research-informed policy-making. The SIG takes special care to include colleagues working in practice and policy, as well as from research institutions; also linking up with other initiatives in this field, such as the Thematic Seminar Group funded as part of the ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme, the ESRC-funded Evidence Network, and various Social Research Association initiatives. Aims and objectives of the group To identify and enhance the various ways in which, and the supporting conditions under which, scholarly research efforts in education can have a stronger influence on policy-making processes by, for example:

  • identifying key areas of policy which may be particularly supported – or contradicted – by current research evidence;
  • identifying processes, environments and institutional arrangements for the mediation and ‘translation’ of research knowledge for decision-making;
  • de-constructing barriers to the use of scholarly research in decision-making;
  • exploring a range of methodologies for synthesising research knowledge;
  • identifying new substantive areas, new research models and modes, and/or insufficiently understood issues for policy-relevant research.

SIG Convenors

Profile picture of Sarah Younie
Sarah Younie, Professor

Professor in Education Innovation at De Montfort University Alumni

Sarah Younie is a principal lecturer in Education at De Montfort University and a visiting Senior Research Fellow at University of Bedfordshire. She has been involved in international research on educational technologies and teaching for twenty...

Profile picture of Craig Skerritt
Craig Skerritt, Dr

Lecturer at University of Manchester

Craig Skerritt is a Lecturer in Education at the Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester.

Content associated with this SIG

BERA Conference 2023 – Call for Abstract Reviewers

6 Feb 2023 - 17 Feb 2023

Would you be willing to act as a reviewer for abstracts submitted to the BERA Annual Conference 2023? To be involved, you will need to: be a BERA Member be available to referee abstracts...

Upcoming event

Join the Curriculum Journal editorial board

Closes 31 Oct 2022

The Curriculum Journal – BERA’s international peer-reviewed journal publishing original contributions to the study of curriculum theory and curriculum-making practices – is seeking...

Publishing opportunityOpen