Gough Giving Voice paper final revision 19th March 07 accepted.doc

Gough Giving Voice paper final revision 19th March 07 accepted.doc

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PRE PUBLICATION COPY OF PAPER TO APPEAR IN: Gough D (2007) Giving voice: evidence-informed policy and practice as a democratizing process in M Reiss, R DePalma and E Atkinson (Eds) "Marginality and Difference In Education and Beyond", London: Trentham Books GIVING VOICE: EVIIDENCE-INFORMED POLICY AND PRACTICE AS A DEMOCRATIZING PROCESS David Gough Introduction An important role of universities is to develop new ways of understanding our physical and social worlds. This may include challenging accepted views and shining light on established orders and powers. Many of the chapters in this volume provide examples of such research which explores social differences and social interests hidden by dominant discourses and revealed by academic inquiry and analysis. One approach to developing new research perspectives on the world is to involve a greater number of voices in the interpretation, use and conduct of research. Research helps us to understand the world and if this research is only led and understood by certain sections of society its approach and findings are likely to be limited by the ideological and conceptual assumptions and priorities of those groups. The importance of the different perspectives on knowledge creation and use can be seen in widespread debates about such contested issues as the nature of mental illness or whether doctors or service users should determine the nature of maternity services. In the area of education you would expect policy makers, practitioners, parents and school students to have different perspectives and different research questions about the nature of educational services. Each of these groups would find it easier to engage in debates 1
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about research evidence if they were determining the questions driving the evidence being created. This chapter has similar interests in developing and challenging ways of understanding the world. Its focus is on secondary research, on how we go about finding out what we know already from existing research evidence and how this can be a powerful driver for determining future research agendas. Clarifying what we know is traditionally the role of experts or of literature reviews but these may not be explicit about their assumptions or methods of review. It is therefore important to have formal explicit methods of review just as formal explicit methods are required to ensure that the findings of primary research are accountable. This is not an argument for one method of review but for multiple explicit accountable methods for specifying what we know from research evidence and how we know it. This includes being clear about the questions being asked, by who, and for what purpose. Systematic research synthesis is an umbrella term for a number of formal explicit methods for reviewing research literature. Such systematic methods have many advantages over traditional informal methods of review and many implications for the creation and use of knowledge, including giving voice to different groups and individual members of society.
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  • Spring '14
  • AntonioBaez
  • David Gough

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