British Educational Research Journal
© John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
When BERA was first formed in 1974, psychologists predominated in education, then the sociologists surfaced, to be followed by the action researchers.
Today BERA encompasses psychologists, sociologists, historians, and philosophers among the discipline-oriented members; a strong contingent of educationists with special interests in curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, or management; and those taking either a theoretical, or evaluative or action-research perspective on education.
It is widely agreed that the over-arching research concern of these educationists is the critically informing of educational judgements and of decisions aimed at improving educational action. This concern makes for a duality of policy/practice-focused research, with a concern to advance practical wisdom in educational matters, and of discipline-focused research, with a concern to advance theoretical knowledge in educational settings, in terms of psychological or sociological phenomena and/or philosophical, economic or historical issues.
The potential audiences for both aspects of research are practitioners, policy-makers and academics. Methodologically, many policy/practice-focused researchers are engaged in studies of singularities (ie studies enclosed in narrow boundaries of space and time), while many discipline-focused researchers are searching for general statements. BERA aims to embrace all of these researchers and audiences, and provides opportunities at its conferences and in its publications for all to contribute.