Dubious objectivity: the production of factoids and grey research governance

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To date there is a surprising lacuna in our knowledge of the Scottish Government’s research policy for educational research despite its national implications including a marginalising of academic departments of education in and statistical preferences about methodologies favoured in contract funding. In 2017 the Scottish Government’s stated policy illustrated favoured: quantitative methods and private sector market research company expertise as a seeming neutral knowledge provider
This paper provides an analysis and critique of the Scottish Government’s 2017 policy paper about the role, nature and organisation of educational research. The discourse analysis methodology deployed to evaluate the policy document focusses upon revealing the policy’s spurious claims to objectivity and hegemonic aspirations over moderating professionalism. It is suggested this policy also annexes the neutral resonance of the concept of research for political ends achieved through ‘data management’ of school teaching cultures and other users of research produced evidence.
It is concluded that its 2017 research commitment is tantamount to being an ideologically motivated investment privileging hegemonic control over the organization, management and construction strategically manufactured data sets. The policy zeitgeist therefore represents an audit culture designed to support a concept of evidence-based practice in a cosmos of league table metrics and growing restrictions over professional autonomy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2022
EventScottish Educational Research Association Conference 2022: Reconnecting Educational Research, Policy, and Practice - University of the West of Scotland, Ayr, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Nov 202225 Nov 2022


ConferenceScottish Educational Research Association Conference 2022
Abbreviated titleSERA 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • policy
  • research
  • discourse


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