Possibilities for the use of research in educational practice are often written off due to the history, politics and interests of the ostensibly separate worlds that researchers and practitioners occupy. However, a more optimistic account highlights the ways these communities share a common need for practice-based theories, which enable them to make sense of a wide range of issues in education, including pedagogy, learning, and educational equity.

In applying theory to situated accounts of various educational practices and learning contexts, this book explores mistaken assumptions about the ways that research can ‘inform’ or otherwise impact practice. It problematises a ‘what works’ agenda but also points to potentially more productive research-practice relationships in education. Experienced contributors describe how they have used a variety of context-sensitive theoretical approaches in the socio-cultural and discursive traditions to both understand practice and address a wide range of practical issues in education.

At its core Reframing Educational Research challenges two commonly held assumptions:

    • that "best practice" is readily identifiable in a way that is then transferrable to new contexts for use by practitioners more widely, and
    • that theory will not help with what to do on Monday morning in the classroom or in developing policies with direct and visible impact.

Drawing on the experience of a number of highly respected expert contributors, including Mel Ainscow, Harry Daniels, Anna Sfard and Etienne Wenger-Trayner, the book discusses a range of issues that must be explicitly addressed if we are to make headway in developing a sustainable and productive relationship between research, policy and practice. The authors make it clear that the politics, policies, institutional practices, market systems and social dynamics currently at play in education have a tendency to derail the idealised pathway from research to reform. This book aims to move the discussion towards alternative, and potentially more fruitful, ways of linking research with practice.

Reframing Educational Research is an invitation to all researchers to identify new opportunities for advancing theory and practice in education. It is a must-read for all practitioners and researchers in education.

chapter |6 pages


ByValerie Farnsworth, Yvette Solomon

part |68 pages

Using context-sensitive theories to rethink the ‘what works' research agenda

chapter |13 pages

How do mathematics teaching enhancement programmes ‘work'?

Rethinking agency in regulative times
ByYvonne Barnes, Fiona Cockerham, Una Hanley, Yvette Solomon

chapter |11 pages

How do you make doctors?

ByEmma Pearson, Janine Carroll, Tim Dornan

chapter |14 pages

Participative learning in online contexts

Focusing on ‘participation'
ByErica McAteer, Mary Thorpe, Cormac Lawler

part |28 pages

Engaging with theory to make things happen

chapter |13 pages

Developing more equitable education systems

Reflections on a three-year improvement initiative 1
ByMel Ainscow

chapter |13 pages

Researching complex systems

Developing a language of description
ByHarry Daniels

part |79 pages

Developing a practice-based research agenda in education

chapter |14 pages

The practice of theory

Confessions of a social learning theorist
ByEtienne Wenger-Trayner

chapter |20 pages

Using diverse system perspectives to develop policy and practice in an answerable way

The case of dyslexia support in higher education
ByTim Deignan

chapter |12 pages

Not just so stories

Practising discursive research for the benefit of educational practice
ByAnna Sfard

chapter |15 pages

Research cannot define ‘best practice' but it can offer tools for considering ‘which practice'

Working through theories of identity and curriculum
ByValerie Farnsworth

chapter |16 pages

Research knowledge production and educational activity

A ‘research path' approach
BySeth Chaiklin

part |30 pages

Cautionary tales on research use, theory and practice

chapter |15 pages

Policy, mediation and practice in Further Education

The contribution of CHAT 1
ByJames Avis

chapter |13 pages

Research, policy and professional development

Designing hybrid activities in third spaces
ByJulian Williams, Julie Ryan