Percolated or Espresso? The ways in which educational research influences policy development in Australia

Year: 2007

Author: Watson, Louise

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Conventional thinking holds that educational research can, at best, have an indirect influence on public policy and that research outcomes will "percolate" through educational communities rather than have a significant influence on policy development in the short term. This paper argues that while some forms of research may be inherently inaccessible to those outside of a defined research community, educational research can and should influence public policy development more directly than is implied by the percolation model.

There is an increasing diversification of educational research communities in Australia and some of these communities appear to have a disproportionate impact on public policy. They author explores why this is the case and discusses the implications of research diversity for educational policy researchers.

The author explores the nature of the policy development cycle and identifies the ways in which academic educational researchers might seek to influence that cycle more directly. While a number of strategies appear to be successful in terms of influencing public policy development, seeking a direct influence on policy poses risks for academic researchers. The limitations of the RQF approach to measuring the impact of academic research are also discussed.