NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1090252
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Mar
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0311-6999
The Use and Abuse of Research in the Public Domain
Reid, Alan
Australian Educational Researcher, v43 n1 p75-91 Mar 2016
In Australia, education think tanks have become increasingly influential in policy circles through "reports" to government, and in public debate through the mainstream media. Invariably think-tanks draw on educational research to lend authority and legitimacy to their work. This is desirable if the research deepens understandings about important educational issues. However, it can be dangerous if it is enlisted to serve a specific ideology. This paper takes a case study of an avowedly conservative think-tank in Australia--the Education Standards Institute (ESI)--to explore the ways in which research is (mis)used in the service of a particular ideology in the public sphere. To sharpen the case study, the paper focuses on a contemporary policy issue in Australia--Independent Public Schools. It is argued that over a prolonged period of time the ESI Director has argued for an extreme version of school autonomy which goes far beyond anything which has yet been proposed by policy-makers in Australia. In so doing he uses the imprimatur of research evidence to substantiate his claims. The paper explores the many flaws in the ways in which educational research is employed to bolster the case. Education research should play a central role in informing public discussions and debates about education policy. It should not be used as a front for sloganeering for particular ideologies, and educational researchers have an important role to play in pointing this out.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A