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Quality and Relevance in educational research assessments: Some reflections on the role of research in processes of expertizing educational change.
University of Borås, School of Education and Behavioural Science. (PAUS)
(PAUS)
2014 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Sustainable development
The content falls within the scope of Sustainable Development
Abstract [en]

In accordance with the scientific enterprise at large, educational research is considered to be of increased importance - for the improvement of education and for the possibilities of social and economical developments. But as funding has its limits (Ziman,1994) this has also meant increases in demands and pressures on educational research to conduct according to what is needed and asked for – e.g. to be relevant (Besley, 2009). But how are decision over needs taken and how are the balance between research relevance and research quality handled, and with what consequences? These are questions addressed in this paper whose main aim is to reflect on the role of research in processes of expertizing educational change. Reflection means here to rethink (to reconceptualise) what already has been altered in a period of time where educational research and educational research policy are increasingly run by global agendas (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010) and where changes in epistemologies could be expected to follow changes in research assessments and research practices. The study addresses questions of research quality and research relevance from a perspective where images of differences between “external” and “internal” quality standards play a vital, but different, role in different forms of assessment of educational research (see Boaz & Ashby, 2003). This external/internal divide are here seen from a perspective of social epistemology (Fuller, 2002), and the paper analyse and exemplify the performativity and translations of these divides and its conceptual specificities as they are performed. Our analyses are based on different sources - selections of policy documents as well as selections of research assessment procedures from selected Research Councils. The paper is to be seen as an extension – and a conceptual rethinking - of our previous studies on the politics of assessments of educational research in Sweden (Foss Lindblad, Lindblad & Popkewitz, 2009), Norway (Lindblad, 2013) and Australia (Lindblad & Foss Lindblad, 2013). Our findings indicate, firstly, that the conceptual ambiguities of quality and relevance in educational research assessments are founded in epistemological terrains that mirror differences in the roles given to research in the processes of expertizing educational changes. While our empirical cases (Sweden, Norway and Australia) gives clear evidence for the fact that, secondly, such differences makes a difference also for the agenda setting of research priorities and the actual funding of research, the situation could also be seen as one where, thirdly, the external/internal divides conceptually hidden in ideas about scientific quality and scientific relevance demonstrates that struggles over different kinds of research has other dimensions than those addressed in the discussions on evidence-based research (Hammersley, 2007) and/or questions on qualitative vs. quantitative research (Denzin, Lincoln & Giardina, 2006). Disciplinary differences are important here – as are questions of the future of educational research (see Furlon & Lawn, 2011) and we will here take a clear stance for the importance of disciplines, and disciplinary crossings, in processes of expertizing educational change. References Boaz, A. & Ashby, D. (2003). Fit for purpose? Assessing research quality for evidence based policy and practice. Retrieved 2014, from ESRC UK Centre for Evidence Based Policy. Besley, T. (2009). Assessing the Quality of educational research in higher education: International perspectives. Sense Publishers. Denzin, N: Lincoln, Y & M Giardina,. (2006). Disciplining qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. Vol. 19, No 6. Pp. 769 – 782. Fuller, Steven (2002). Social Epistemology. Indiana University Press. Furlong, J. & Lawn, M. (2011). Disciplines of Education. The role in the future of educational research. London & New York: Routledge. Hammersley, M (Ed.) (2007). Educational evidence-based practices. London:Sage. Lindblad, S. ; Bergviken Rensfeldt, A. ; Jensen, B. et al. (2013). Evaluering av forskningsprogrammene PRAKSISFOU og UTDANNING 2020. Oslo: Norges Forskningsråd. Foss Lindblad, R. ; Lindblad, S. ; Popkewitz, T. S. (2009). Narratives on Educational Research Evaluation in Sweden. Besley, A.C (Ed): Asessing the Quality of Educational Research in Higher Education. s. 279-292. Rotterdam: Sense Publications Lindblad, S. & Foss Lindblad, R. (2013). Educational Research: the State of Sweden and the Australian 2.2 world. The Australian Educational Researcher. 40 (4) s. 527-534. Rizvi F. & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing Education Policy. New York: Routledge. Ziman, J.M. (1994). Prometheus Bound: Science in a Dynamic Steady State. Cambridge: University Press.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keywords [en]
expertise, research quality, research relevance, social epistemology
Keywords [sv]
Högre Utbildning
National Category
Social Sciences Pedagogy
Research subject
Teacher Education and Education Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-7228Local ID: 2320/14278OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-7228DiVA, id: diva2:887937
Conference
ECER 2014, Porto The Past, Present and Future of Educational Research in Europe, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal, 1 - 5 September 2014.
Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22 Last updated: 2017-02-19Bibliographically approved

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