Reconceptualising the research-policy nexus in Higher Education: 'Evidence-based policy' in practice in national and international contexts

Locke, William (2007). Reconceptualising the research-policy nexus in Higher Education: 'Evidence-based policy' in practice in national and international contexts. In: European Conference on Educational Research (ECER) 2007: Contested Qualities of Educational Research, 19-21 Sep 2007, Ghent, Belgium.

URL: http://www.ecer2007.ugent.be/preconf_update.pdf

Abstract

It is often claimed that research on higher education has had little or no impact on HE policy-making, which is regarded as being largely driven by political ideology and the media and reinforced by little more than management consultancy. Recent higher education policy, it has been argued, is ‘a research-free zone’ or at best ‘policy based evidence’. Yet, ‘evidence-based policy’ remains a key term in government rhetoric, and education ministries and higher education policy bodies continue to commission research of various kinds. This paper argues that dichotomous approaches to the research-policy-practice nexus may have adopted an unnecessarily restrictive conception of ‘research’ and an idealised view of policy-making and implementation as a rational and linear process. It argues that new approaches to building relations between the three domains are needed if the various communities are to develop a forward-looking perspective on the needs for research on higher education in the next ten to twenty years.

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