Evidence-informed education policy advice - the role of research in a national review

Year: 2003

Author: McDonald, E.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Governments take an interest in the impact of educational research as is evidenced by the research commissioned by them to answer this question. Different contentions appear in the literature and in the commentary of influential policy actors about the 'value' of educational research. At the same time in the discourse around professions and policy making 'evidence-based' is a descriptor that has gained some prominence, whether as a wish, intent, or a claim to legitimacy. A recent national review, The National Review of Nursing Education, commissioned a body of research and a number of literature reviews to inform its advice to Government. The review provides some insight into the role research can play in the development of advice about policy, the limitations imposed by the lack of available research and the breadth of research that is required to ensure the advice is indeed informed by evidence. This paper examines these three issues and in doing so demonstrates the interconnection between 'educational' research and research into 'practice' in the context of professional education.