Researching amid the heat and noise of political debate
Thrupp, M. (2013). Researching amid the heat and noise of political debate. Policy Futures in Education, 11(6), 722–732. http://doi.org/10.2304/pfie.2013.11.6.722
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/9020
This article discusses the everyday politics surrounding research on a controversial government policy. The research in question is the Research, Analysis and Insight into National Standards (RAINS) project on National Standards in New Zealand primary schools being undertaken by the author. This three-year study was funded by the New Zealand primary teachers' union, the NZEI, an organisation opposed to the National Standards policy. The project was quickly attacked by a cabinet minister and the media but there have also been significant accomplishments in carrying out and reporting the research and in relevant activism. As the article discusses the political setbacks and successes while undertaking the research, it reflects on issues such as research funding, research 'independence', the reporting of findings from controversial research projects, the tensions between being a researcher and an activist and the importance of supportive networks. The article provides a case study of how challenges to the legitimacy of research and academic involvement in public debate may need to be anticipated and addressed by researchers much like other aspects of their work.
This article is published in the journal: Policy Futures in Education. ©2013 Symposium Journals.
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