Policy Frameworks and Taxonomies: Gaps Within Research

  • Tiffany Jones
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)


Accepting that there are a variety of values and education discourses potentially at work within any education policy (or policies), and a variety of ways we can analyse them, how can we best understand them? What conceptual framing is appropriate, or holds value across policy types and constructions? Is there a framing or paradigmatic exemplar that can work across methodologies and analysis types? One way of answering this question is by looking at what a variety of analyses consistently reveal or discuss. Education policy analysis often reveals the broader political education goals and strategies behind the policy or policies under investigation. This is particularly true in the case of methodological approaches such as discourse analysis, critical discourse analysis, historical discourse analysis and genealogy. Research into single policy documents usually reveals the operation of one paradigm or paradigmatic ‘orientation’ to education. For example, Heck uncovered a ‘liberal’ or neo-liberal paradigm within the Australian Discovering Democracy framework through a Critical Discourse Analysis (Heck, 2003). However, it is important to note that this research did not consider other paradigms in its conceptual framing, and the Civic Republican Citizenship Discourse she describes as within this liberal paradigm is in other broader analyses more correctly cast as ‘conservative’ (Jones, 2009). Rigour and reproducibility become questionable when the same policy is thus described as ‘liberal’, ‘neo-liberal’ or ‘conservative’ within different analyses. Similarly, Harvey (2006) uncovers ‘neoliberalism’ and an economic focus in tertiary education policy, although it is important to again outline that neo-liberalism is not explored in the full context of alternative orientations; underlying the sense that researchers will find ‘what they are looking for’ paradigmatically (where it is present) and overlook what they are not looking for.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia

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