This book argues for independent, critical research on education policy in the context of attacks on the quality and usefulness of educational research in general. It takes issue with the argument, promoted by
government departments and agencies that education policy research should be limited to work that assists policy-makers. Against this position, the book advocates independent, critical research that scrutinizes policy in relation to its consequences for equality and social justice. It argues that practitioners and academic researchers should form a research community that develops its own knowledge base from which so-called evidence based policymaking in education may be assessed and challenged.
The book offers guidance on the theoretical and methodological resources available to practitioners and others with an interest in doing research on policy and discusses some of the main issues and problems in doing policy research on education. It offers examples of research on policy at different system levels, pursuing themes such as globalization, changing governance of education, selection, choice and exclusion, managerialism and the feminisation of educational management. It argues for attention to the history of policy in education as a resource for understanding the present, and concludes with recommendations for future research in areas where contestation of official agendas is needed.