Critical Realism, Policy, and Educational Research

Luke, Allan (2009) Critical Realism, Policy, and Educational Research. In Ercikan, Kadriye & Roth, Wolff-Michael (Eds.) Generalizing from Educational Research : Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Polarization. Routledge, New York, pp. 173-200.

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This is a case for a critical realist approach to educational research and policy making. Such an approach enlists the full range of educational research tools to generate as broad an empirical picture of educational practices, patterns and institutional outcomes as possible. Its aim is to establish a comprehensive picture of an educational system at work, not just classical input/process/output descriptions, but also models of the life trajectories and capital of teachers and students to and through schools. The empirical work sets the table for theorising and modelling educational practice, for the interpretive and discursive work of policy formation. The translation of critical realist research into policy formation requires historical narratives and scenario planning, explanations about how things came to be, and about how alternative normative scenarios might be constructed. Here I want to provide a historical backdrop to the links between critical realism and a broader agenda of social justice and educational equity. Noting the parameters of current and recent research on pedagogy, achievement and social class, I emphasise the need for new sociological directions in pedagogy and in educational assessment and evaluation – but new directions built squarely on the foundations of social reproduction theory. In so doing, I want to suggest a way past the critical/empirical, qualitative/quantitative divide that has arisen in the context of Neoliberal educational politics in the US, UK and Canada. To address questions of generalisability, such an approach entails a shunting back and forth between levels of scale in a system. But moreover it requires a sociological imagination and critical hermeneutics for reading and interpreting evidence and research.

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ID Code: 14019
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: For more information about this book please refer to the publisher's website (see link) or contact the author.
Keywords: critical realism, educational research, policy
ISBN: 0415963818
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology of Education (160809)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Taylor & Francis
Deposited On: 10 Jul 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2013 02:17

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