22 SES 03 D, Policy and Governance in HE
The paper aims to analyze the relationship between educational research and its use in the policy-making process in the Romanian educational system. The main focus is set on the state of research production, researchers’ and policy-makers’ opinions, with an interest on the obstacles and opportunities that may derive from the process of research mobilization.
The paper derives from a research project funded by the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation, CNCS – UEFISCDI, project number PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-1605.
The obstacles that research in education face and which make the use of research more difficult could be related to the fact that the demands and responsibilities of academic research conflict with the needs and expectations of policymakers, which serve to widen rather than narrow the gap between the two groups. Therefore, in a rapidly changing context, educational researchers can no longer work exclusively in universities and only publish in academic journals which are accessible only to few colleagues or students, but they should seek to establish a closer collaboration with policy – makers in order to avoid creating a communication gap. In the educational field, it is explained that in order to avoid a communication gap, research outcomes must be comprehensible for both policymakers, stakeholders and practitioners or other type of audience (Conrad, 2005; Whitty, 2006; Bell, Cordingley, Isham, & Davis, 2010; Levin, 2011; and Ion and Iucu, 2015).
Establishing a closer collaboration between researchers and policy-makers involves what Penuel et al. (2015) call ‘boundary crossing’ – researchers working, directly or indirectly, with policymakers, practitioners and other stakeholders, including the mass media. This involves new ways of working, because researchers have to learn the priorities of other stakeholders and utilize the ‘ideas in common currency’ among them. There are costs to doing ‘impact work’ and the research suggests that few institutions are yet committing substantial support for such activity.Withal, Shreeve (2004) talks about the partnerships between researchers and policy makers as key for research mobilization.
Another focus is set on exploring to which extend does the lack of training into the research methodology can interfere on the proper development, implementation and dissemination of knowledge. Several researchers (Huberman, 1990; Hargreaves, 1996; Black, 2001; Young et al., 2002; Nutley et al., 2002; Hood, 2003; Hammersley,2005) state that policy makers and practitioners do not receive proper training in how to make use of research and acquire evidence, therefore they find themselves in the situation of not being able to make fruitful use of educational knowledge in order to inform their work.
Bell, M., Cordingley,P., Isham.,C., & Davis.,R.(2010). Report of professional practitioner use of research review: Practitionerengagementinand/orwithresearch.Coventry: CUREE, GTCE, LSIS, & NTRP. Available at: http://www.curee—paccts.com/node/2303 Black, P. (2001) In praise of educational research: formative assessment, British Educational Research Journal, 29 (5) 623-38. Conrad, C. F., & Serlin, R. C. (2005). The Sage handbook for research in education: Minding The Gap Between Research And Policymaking, Sage Publications. Hammersley, M. (2005) Is the evidence-based practice movement doing more good than harm?: Reflections on Ian Chalmers' case for research-based policy making and practice, Evidence & Policy, Vol. 1, N°1, p. 85-100. Hargreaves, D. H. (1996) Teaching as a Research-based Profession: Possibilities and Prospects (Teacher Training Agency Annual Lectures 1996). London: Teacher Training Agency. Hood, P. (2003). Scientific Research and Evidence-Based Practice.San Francisco: WestEd. Huberman, M. (1990), 'Linkage between researchers and practitioners: a qualitative study', American Educational Research Journal, Vol. 27, n° 2, p. 363-91. Ion, G & Iucu, R. (2015) Does Research Influence Educational Policy? The Perspective of Researchers and Policy- Makers in Romania. In: Curaj, A., Matei, L., Pricopie, R., Salmi, J. & Scott, P. (eds) The European Higher Education Area: Between Critical Reflections and Future Policies. Springer, pp.873-889 Levin, B. (2011).Mobilising research knowledge in education. London Review of Education,9(1), 15–26. Nutley, S. & Davies, H & Walter, I (2002) Evidence based policy and practice: Cross sector lessons from the UK, ESRC UK Centre for Evidence Based Policy and Practice, Working paper 9. Accessible at: http://www.evidencenetwork.org/Documents/wp9b.pdf. Penuel, W. R., Allen, A. R., Coburn, C. E., & Farrell, C. (2015). Conceptualizing research–practice partnerships as joint work at boundaries. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), 20(1-2), 182-197. Shreeve, A. (2004) Doing and using educational research: engaging researchers, practitioners and policy makers in productive partnerships. Educar 34, 85-95 Whitty, G. (2006). Education (al) research and education policy making: is conflict inevitable?. British educational research journal, 32(2), 159-176. Young, K & Ashby, D & Boaz, A & Grayson, L. (2002) Social science and the evidence based policy movement, Social Policy and Society, 1:3, 215-224
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