Reshaping Educational Research through Thematic Programs? Comparing Educational Governance and Contents in Germany, Norway, and the UK

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Gilbert Scott Conference Room - 251 (University of Glasgow)
Justin J. W. Powell , University of Luxembourg
Marcelo Marques , Institute of Education & Society, University of Luxembourg
Mike Zapp , Institute of Education & Society, University of Luxembourg
Educational research in countries across Europe has seen unprecedented growth over the past fifteen years. This change has also affected (preferred) themes, levels, objects, and methods. Governments and research councils initiated a series of programs aiming to (re)shape the field of educational research by funding projects. Not simply providing regulatory or financial support, research funding organizations have begun to define priorities and themes of research, imposing cognitive blueprints. To examine this new educational research governance in Europe, the paper traces the process of institutionalization in Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom (1990s-today). Identifying key actors in research and policymaking at European, national, and organizational levels, we highlight the different pathways these countries have taken to develop their educational research infrastructures.

Empirically, the paper analyzes educational research programs in terms of their goals for educational research and through the analysis of the projects, the substance of funded research. Applying quantitative and qualitative methods, we analyze the explicit goals of educational research programs since the late 1990s and a large sample of related projects (N=786) in the three countries. Interviews with researchers and policymakers (N=25) in these countries serve to embed the results in the contrasting country contexts.

The paper concludes comparatively, arguing that these research programs created the material conditions to expand educational research, accompanied by the strengthening of a commitment to evidence-based policy-making, explicitly-stated social and economic goals, the urge to internationalize educational research, the call for more quality, and the push for more empirical and quantitative educational research.

  • PowellMarquesZapp_2017_ConfEuropeanists_EducResearchGovernance_20170706.pdf (2.6 MB)