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Confronting the ‘coming crisis’ in education research

Power, Sally ORCID: 2023. Confronting the ‘coming crisis’ in education research. British Journal of Educational Studies 71 (5) , pp. 477-491. 10.1080/00071005.2023.2221720
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This paper examines the current crisis in education research and how we might confront it. It begins by arguing that the ‘coming crisis’ facing empirical sociology identified by Savage and Burrows (2007) applies equally – if not more so – to empirical education research. Education researchers can no longer lay claim to specialist expertise in the analysis of social institutions and our ‘tools of the trade’ are increasingly unviable. These developments are compounded by the dominance of the ‘cultural turn’ within British education research which has made it difficult for education researchers to develop a cumulative evidence base, leading to a lack of traction with policymakers and a privileging of cultural inequalities in education over economic inequalities. The paper discusses how the education research community might respond to the challenges and considers whether we might do worse than follow the suggestion offered to sociologists that they should take ‘a descriptive turn’. Taking such a turn will not be easy, but the alternative may be that education research in the UK will be even more marginalised as it becomes increasingly out-of-step with the developments in data, evidence and analysis being fostered outside the academy.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Group
ISSN: 1467-8527
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 July 2023
Date of Acceptance: 31 May 2023
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2023 17:26

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