Research and Practice: A Complex Relationship?

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The past decade has seen fundamental questions about the nature and quality of educational research, and its relationship to practice and policy, placed prominently on the agenda in many countries. In the United Kingdom, the 1996 Teacher Training Agency lecture by David Hargreaves, then of the University of Cambridge, is widely seen as having played a key role in setting the agenda and influencing the direction of the ensuing debate. In his lecture, Hargreaves (1996) asked if teaching could be regarded as a research-based profession and concluded that it could not. This he attributed largely to the nature and quality of the outcomes of educational research: “Given the huge amounts of educational research conducted over the past fifty years or more, there are few areas which have yielded a corpus of research evidence regarded as scientifically sound and as a worthwhile resource to guide professional action” (p. 2).