The arguments in favour of policy makers adopting an 'evidence-informed' approach are well established. In practice, however, the routine use of evidence is yet to be incorporated into educational policy making, with research being used to inform decision making in ad hoc, sporadic, and inconsistent ways. Policy makers are also prone to carefully selecting the evidence they do use, with alternative arguments dismissed as unfashionable, un-robust, or ideologically unsound. But, the work of government affects the lives of millions. If policies fail, therefore, they are likely to do so at huge cost to the taxpayer, while also resulting in inequitable, inefficient, or undesirable outcomes for large numbers of the population. Grounded both in empirical and theoretical analysis, this book re-examines the arguments in favour of an evidence-informed approach to education policy; spotlights the factors that lead to a wide variety of evidence and perspectives being disregarded by policy makers; and sets out why a paradigm of partnership between researchers and policy makers is required in order to improve the future for policy development.
It argues that policy will never be 'evidence-informed', nor will initiatives be truly successful in the long term, unless both researchers (as storytellers) and policy makers (as audiences) understand and play their part in the 'evidence-informed' process. This book is aimed at both educational researchers and policy makers interested in enhancing the use of research outputs in policy making. While the book's primary domain is education, the concept of evidence-informed policy making has salience across a number of sectors, notably health and social care.