chapter  3
9 Pages

Doing research: Politics, policy and practice


A central concern for the social sciences has been how far research can be, and should be, considered partisan or value-neutral. Hammersley (2000) identifies a number of ways in which social research can become partisan: the explicit alignment of the researcher with a political project (as in much feminist research); the conduct of research that serves the interests of professionals working in particular areas (as can happen in education research, for example); or research that is required to meet putative national interests (witness the declared aims of research commissioned by research councils in the UK and the National Institutes of Health in the US). Partisanship can influence research to varying degrees and at varying stages: how the research ‘problem’ is identified, how the research is carried out, strategies for analyses, the reporting of findings, and so on.