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ERIC Number: EJ782764
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0031-7217
The Evolving Relationship between Researchers and Public Policy
Henig, Jeffrey R.
Phi Delta Kappan, v89 n5 p357-360 Jan 2008
When it comes to the role of research in shaping public policy and debate, one might reasonably argue that this is the best of times. No Child Left Behind (NCLB), with its frequent mention of evidence-based decision making, has underscored the role that objective knowledge should play in a democratic society. The Institute of Education Sciences, through its grant policies, promotion of randomized field trials, and its What Works Clearinghouse, has provided detailed road maps of what greater reliance on strong research design might mean. Research findings and debates get deep coverage in such outlets as "Education Week" and instant coverage in the blogosphere. Advocacy groups appear anxious to enlist researchers as spokespersons and draw on social science evidence to add legitimacy to their causes. Paradoxically, it might just as well be argued that this is the worst of times. Among policy makers and many scholars, educational research has a reputation of being amateurish, unscientific, and generally beside the point. Exacerbating matters are high-profile tussles between prominent researchers publicly disparaging one another's methods and interpretations. Researchers disagree; that is neither new nor a matter of concern. The portrayal of the debates in the public arena reinforces cynicism with regard to the independence and potential contribution of good scientific techniques. In this article, the author highlights five broad structural changes that are potentially changing the demand for research, the availability and type of data, and the way research enters the public realm as part of ongoing policy and political debates. (Contains 4 endnotes.)
Phi Delta Kappa International. 408 North Union Street, P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402-1789. Tel: 800-766-1156; Fax: 812-339-0018; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A