Education(al) Research, Educational Policy-Making and Practice
Article first published online: 24 NOV 2010
© 2010 The Author. Journal compilation © 2010 Journal of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain
Journal of Philosophy of Education
Volume 45, Issue 1, pages 37–57, February 2011
How to Cite
CLARK, C. (2011), Education(al) Research, Educational Policy-Making and Practice. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 45: 37–57. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9752.2010.00769.x
- Issue published online: 10 MAR 2011
- Article first published online: 24 NOV 2010
Professor Whitty has endorsed the consensus that research into education is empirical social science, distinguishing ‘educational research’ which seeks directly to influence practice, and ‘education research’ that has substantive value but no necessary practical application.
The status of the science here is problematic. The positivist approach is incoherent and so supports neither option. Critical educational science is virtually policy-inert. The interpretive approach is empirically sound but, because of the value component in education, does not support education research either, or account for this component.
A solution to the latter problem is sought in the debate between Carr and Hirst on the relationship between philosophy and education. This shows Carr making claims that rely on a conception of philosophy that he rejects, while Hirst insists on this conception, uses it to justify practical claims, but denies that this is possible.
To achieve a practically relevant analysis of educational research, both need to include second-order, normative, conceptual enquiry into the philosophies that drive educational policy-making and partly regulate teaching methodology. Deweyan, first-order, ‘reflective practice’ needs, then, to be supplemented with second-order reflection.
Educational research is philosophy- not science-driven, and is value-led. Consequently, it has the status not of scientific discovery but of practical recommendation.