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The impact of research on policymaking in education

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Hocking, H (1988) The impact of research on policymaking in education. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate a commonly-held view that educational research does not contribute to policymalcing. The general problem was to examine the outcomes of attempts to foster linkage between researchers and policymakers, and thus to develop greater understanding of the possible influence of research on policy. The research that was the subject of the study was undertaken by an in-house government research facility which sought to improve the link between research and policymaldng.
The conceptual framework postulated four major components: policy comprising sub-components of operating environment, policy process and policymakers; research comprising sub-components of researchers and enquiry; linkage and outcomes. Elements within these components and sub-components were identified, leading to variables for data collection.
A case study method was adopted, using four case studies as a step towards generalisation. One case was selected from each cell of a two-by-two grid based on two elements of the conceptual framework. The elements forming the axes of the grid were (1) who initiated the research (researchers or policymakers) and (2) whether or not there were perceived policy outcomes (impact or no impact). A variety of data sources was used to construct the case descriptions. Interviews with participants formed an important dimension of the information collection. The four cases were subjected to analysis on the basis of the conceptual framework.
The findings indicated that research had an impact on policymaldng in all four cases. The impact was variously in the form of (1) developing shared understanding and beliefs amongst policymakers as the foundation for corporate policy development, (2) refining the policymakers' working knowledge of the issues as a basis for decision-making and (3) creating a climate of expectation for policy development or implementation. Little evidence of the use of research in a linear sense in policy decisions was apparent. A wide range of factors was identified which impinged on the research-policy relationship. The notion of a relationship based solely on rational policy processes using scientific evidence was rejected.
A model of the research/policy relationship was proposed and implications for theory and practice were drawn. These have wide applicability for researchers, policymalcers and research funding agencies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Tasmania. Education Dept, Education, Education and state, Educational planning
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1988 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of Tasmania, 1989. Bibliography: leaves 162-167

Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2014 02:31
Last Modified: 23 May 2017 06:23
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