The extensive and growing literature on research in education tends to be of two main types. First, there is a ‘technical’ literature where the concern is with practical issues and problems in conducting research in education. Second, there is a literature where the prime concern is to contribute to the ongoing debates about methodological issues and controversies in the social sciences. Both of these have problematic elements. The concentration on purely practical issues and problems leads to an excessive emphasis on methods and techniques, borrowed without examination from the social sciences. The consequence is a trivialisation and technicisation of educational research. On the other hand, the concentration on methodological controversies in the social sciences tends to downgrade the latter to a mere sub-species of social researchand results in neglect of the specific problems of an educational research necessarily located in the practice of education.