Sei sulla pagina 1di 72

cover

title:
author:
publisher:
isbn10 | asin:
print isbn13:
ebook isbn13:
language:
subject
publication date:
lcc:
ddc:
subject:

next page >

Educational Research in Europe. Vol. 9 BERA Dialogues


Calderhead, James.
Multilingual Matters
1853592552
9781853592553
9780585126012
English
Education--Research--Europe, Education--Research-Europe--Cross-cultural studies.
1994
LB1028.25.E85E38eb
370/.78/094
Education--Research--Europe, Education--Research-Europe--Cross-cultural studies.

cover

next page >

< previous page

page_i

next page >


Page i

BERA Dialogues 9
Series Editor: Donald McIntyre

Educational Research in Europe


Edited by
James Calderhead
MULTILINGUAL MATTERS LTD
Clevedon Philadelphia Adelaide

< previous page

page_i

next page >

< previous page

page_ii

next page >


Page ii

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data


Educational Research in Europe/Edited by James Calderhead
BERA Dialogues: 9
1. Education-Research-Europe. 2. Education-Research-Europe-Cross-cultural
studies. I. Calderhead, James. II. Series.
LB1028.25.E85E38
1994
370'.78'094-dc20
94-30160
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN 1-85359-256-0 (hbk)
ISBN 1-85359-255-2 (pbk)
Multilingual Matters Ltd
UK: Frankfurt Lodge, Clevedon Hall, Victoria Road, Clevedon, Avon BS21 7SJ.
USA: 1900 Frost Road, Suite 101, Bristol, PA 19007, USA.
Australia: P.O. Box 6025, 83 Gilles Street, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.
Copyright 1994 James Calderhead and the authors of individual chapters.
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in
writing from the publisher.
Printed and bound in Great Britain by WBC Ltd, Bridgend.

< previous page

page_ii

next page >

< previous page

next page >

page_iii

Page iii
Contents
Notes on Contributors
1
Introduction
James Calderhead
2
Educational Research in France
Raymond Bourdoncle
3
Educational Research in United Germany
Volker Lenhart
4
Educational Research in Italy
Marco Todeschini
5
Educational Research in the Netherlands
Gellof Kanselaar
6
Educational Research in the Nordic Countries
Mats Ekholm
7
Educational Research in Romania
Cesar Birzea
8
Educational Research in Slovenia
Darja Piciga and Cveta Razdevsek-Pucko
9
Educational Research in Spain
Carlos Marcelo
10
Educational Research in the United Kingdom
Michael Bassey

< previous page

iv
1
9
14
21
29
33
41
44
55
60

page_iii

next page >

< previous page

page_iv

next page >


Page iv

Notes on Contributors
Michael
Bassey

was formerly Professor of Education at Nottingham Trent University


and was President of BERA in 1991-92.
Cesar
is the Director of the Institute for Educational Sciences in Bucharest,
Birzea
Romania.
Raymond was formerly Director of Research at the Department de Politiques,
Bourdoncle Pratiques et Acteurs de L'education within the Institut National de
Recherche Pedagogique in Paris, but has recently been appointed to a
Chair in educational sciences at the Universit Charles de Gaulle in
Lille.
James
is Professor of Education at the University of Bath in England, and a
Calderhead council member of the British Educational Research Association.
Mats
is Professor of Education of the University of Goteborg and the
Ekholm
University College of Karlstad, and is President of the Nordisk
Forening for Pedogigisk Forskning, the Nordic Society for Educational
Research.
Gellof
is Professor of Education at the University of Utrecht in the
Kanselaar Netherlands, and also President of the Dutch Educational Research
Association (VOR).
Volker
is Professor of Education at the Ruprecht-Karls Universitat in
Lenhart
Heidelberg, and chairs a German association for educational research.
Carlos Marcelo is the Director of the Grupo Investigacion Didactica at
the University of Seville.
Darja
is a researcher at the Educational Research Institute in Ljubljana.
Piciga
Cveta
is Vice Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of
Razdevsek-Ljubljana in Slovenia.
Pucko
Marco
is a researcher and teacher educator at the Institute of Education in
Todeschini Milan.

< previous page

page_iv

next page >

< previous page

page_1

next page >


Page 1

1
Introduction
James Calderhead
Educational systems vary widely throughout Europe, reflecting a diversity of social and political traditions.
Different countries hold forth alternative ideals about how children are to be brought up and prepared for their
adult lives, and societies contain different values, constraints and expectations that shape the development of
educational institutions, their scope, organisation and functions. There is, for example, considerable variance
across Europe in such features as the nature and extent of preschool provision, the extent to which the curriculum
for compulsory schooling is centrally or locally constructed, the provision of vocational education and training,
opportunities for higher education, and the extent to which education is viewed in terms of relatively narrow
academic goals or inclusive of broader moral and social goals relating to the whole life development of children
and adults.
Not surprisingly, educational research also varies across Europe. This can be partly explained by differences
amongst educational systems themselves which dictate what counts as the significant educational questions to be
researched, but it is also partly attributable to different political systems which attach differential status and
importance to the role of independent inquiry, and also to academic traditions within each country which provide
alternative repertoires of theories and research methods that inform the research process. Hence, there are several
distinguishing features of educational research in different countries, such as the tradition of research in didactics
in France and Germany, for example, or the influence of psychological measurement in the large-scale
Scandinavian studies of the educational attainment of different social groups. The intertwined influences of the
educational, political and academic systems on the nature and scale of educational research are especially apparent
in recent developments in Eastern European countries, where democratisation has led to the decentralising of
educational management, increased experimentation in educational practice, and a recognition of the need to draw
more fully on educational research for evaluation and further development.

< previous page

page_1

next page >

< previous page

page_2

next page >


Page 2

Perhaps because of differing educational systems, theoretical and methodological differences and language
differences as well, educational researchers in Europe, and perhaps especially in Britain, have tended to look little
beyond their own country, and even their own circle of academic colleagues, in defining their educational research
community. Yet Europe provides a rich source of studies in education, and the perspectives, data and findings that
come from alternative approaches to research could well challenge and develop further the research work within
individual research areas.
Several of the papers in this volume were originally presented at a symposium on Educational Research in Europe
at the BERA conference in Stirling in 1992. The function of that symposium was to explore how educational
research was structured and funded in different European countries and to consider the relationships between
research and policy and practice. Each of the participants represented a major educational research organisation
within Europe and could talk authoritatively about research activities within their own country. This publication
has grown out of that symposium, and has been extended to include a total of nine countries, including the UK.
Each contributor was asked to provide an overview of educational research in their country, but in particular to
include an account of how educational research was structured and funded, the nature of major organisations or
professional associations for educational research, an account of who pursued this research (academics in
universities, for instance, or civil servants in government departments), to consider 'who decides the research
agendas?', to outline current research priorities in their country or topics of widespread interest, to consider the
inter-relationships between research, policy and practice in education and the extent to which channels exist for
one to inform another, and finally to comment on the nature and potential of European collaboration in educational
researchto what extent does it presently occur, what is the potential for future development and what consequences
might ensue from such collaboration?
Each chapter provides a brief summary and overview of the state of educational research in each country and
highlights major characteristics of the research enterprise. There are many similarities, but also some interesting
contrasts, particularly in the way research is pursued, the status and value attributed to educational research and
the extent to which it is seen as a valuable contribution to educational policy and planning.
The European Contributions
The chapter from France is written by Raymond Bourdoncle, who points out that a large proportion of French
educational research occurs within

< previous page

page_2

next page >

< previous page

page_3

next page >


Page 3

one National Institute which is centrally funded, and whose research agenda seems to be influenced by a
combination of policy and academic concerns. There are many French universities with departments of education
with substantial numbers of students pursuing research degrees, though France has in the past tended to fund its
own central Institute rather than universities to conduct research programmes. However, education in France is
undergoing radical change. Due to government policy to increase the number of students in the 16-19 age group
and in higher education, there is a demand for improvements in the status and quality of teachers and for reforms
in teacher education. Teacher training institutions have been radically reorganised and given university status, and
although they do not at present pursue research, Raymond Bourdoncle speculates that social changes within France
itself and an increase in the power and status of universities may well lead in this direction within the foreseeable
future.
In the following chapter, Volker Lenhart explains how the reunification of Germany has led to some restructuring
of academic research institutions, with the resulting loss of many educational research posts from the former East
Germany. Whilst East Germany had developed research expertise in some areas of education, such as technology
education and the teaching of mixed ability groups, West German university departments were clearly more
productive in research and more efficient in terms of staffing. Reunification has therefore, not surprisingly, led to
the former West German universities and their staff dominating the new educational research scene. Volker
Lenhart, however, explains that there is considerable awareness of this fact and determined attempts to involve
colleagues from Eastern European countries generally in collaborative research ventures. Germany, like several
European countries, however, experiences a shortage of funding for substantial educational research programmes.
Whilst German educational research takes a number of different approaches and is funded in diverse ways, the
impact of research on policy and practice appears to be relatively indirect, through the dissemination of research
findings and the involvement of practitioners in university degree courses. Volker Lenhart draws attention to the
different areas in which some countries have built up educational research and development activities, and
suggests that the experiences of Germany in reconciling research from the east and west may also have some
implications for Europe generally. He suggests that a wider exchange of information on research activities is
particularly important because Europe has become quite language bound in the parameters within which
educational research is conducted. This may be particularly relevant to British researchers and researchers whose
own language is a minority one. As the author points out, whilst German researchers may have some familiarity
with research in their field that is being conducted in Britain, it

< previous page

page_3

next page >

< previous page

page_4

next page >


Page 4

is extremely rare to find British researchers who have the same familiarity with German research.
Education within Italy, as discussed in Chapter 4, has a complex administrative structure and involves researchers,
in a broad sense, at different levels of administration in a variety of evaluation, development and support activities.
Marco Todeschini, however, points out the lack of any coordinating mechanism for educational researchers. Much
of the research activity in Italy seems to be linked to practice or policy objectives and is pursued in various
governmental or private agencies, although several universities also have well developed education departments
with staff who are funded to pursue research activity. Marco Todeschini identifies several particular areas linked to
current educational changes where research needs have been identified, including educational management,
curriculum development and teacher education. It is suggested that Italy has been slower than many European
countries to take advantage of European exchanges and the hope is raised that greater levels of European
cooperation could help to enhance the quality and contribution of educational research within the country.
The Netherlands, on the other hand, has a large and well known educational research association to which most
educational researchers in the Netherlands belong. It also has a well organised national structure for supporting and
coordinating research and development activity. One of the characteristics of research in the Netherlands is the
high priority given to application, much of this activity occurring in the context of school support. Gellof
Kanselaar suggests that this leads to quite close relationships between researchers and practitioners and policymakers, but also leads to research providing short-term gains, rather than fundamental research of a theoretical or
methodological nature. The importance of educational research as an academic study seems at present to be largely
unrecognised by Dutch funding bodies.
Mats Ekholm writes about research in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) all
of which have a similar educational system in common. These countries, and in particular Sweden, have a long
tradition of educational research, especially in the area of evaluating schooling and curricula, with several well
known examples of longitudinal studies of children throughout their school careers. Educational research is viewed
as an important part of monitoring and improving the educational system and researchers are commonly appointed
by central government to policy-making committees. Mats Ekholm suggests that although this is an important
means by which research has an impact upon policy and practice, educational research is still not widely
communicated within each

< previous page

page_4

next page >

< previous page

page_5

next page >


Page 5

country. This is partly attributed to the researchers' inclination to disseminate their research amongst fellow
researchers and an academic audience, and also to the fact that research is published in the several Nordic research
journals using the native language. Although educational research in several of the Nordic countries is
comparatively well funded, the author draws attention to the fact that this is still a very small proportion of the
total education budget across the five countries. The NFPF (Nordisk Forening for Pedagogisk Forskning) is a well
established research organisation, whose management is rotated around the participating countries, and which
draws together a wide range of researchers from different backgrounds.
In Romania, there is an interesting relationship between current social conditions and educational research. Cesar
Birzea describes how the reestablishment of the Institute of Educational Sciences after the abolition of the
Ceaucescu regime is viewed as an important aspect of educational reform. The Institute, the major Romanian
agency for educational research, seems to have both a direct and indirect effect on educational policy and practice:
direct, through the involvement of researchers in educational planning and policy-making; and indirect, through
the organisation of conferences and the dissemination of research findings. In a society where, up until recently,
educational research was proscribed, research is regarded with optimism as a source of guidance and evaluation.
Nevertheless, as Cesar Birzea points out, the relationship between researchers and administrators is not always
comfortable, and there are fundamental differences in the values, purposes and conditions surrounding the work of
researchers and policy-makers that make communication difficult between the two interest groups.
Formerly a state of Yugoslavia before gaining its independence in 1990, Slovenia, like Romania and East
Germany, has experienced a period of rapid social and educational change. Greater experimentation with the
curriculum and teaching methods, a growing concern for catering for individual needs, and a determination to
develop an educational system that will compare with that of other European countries are some of the factors that
Darja Piciga and Cveta Razdevsek-Pucko suggest have stimulated considerable interest in educational research.
Slovenia has a detailed national research programme in which the educational field of enquiry is 'Education and
Sport'. A variety of academic and research organisations are funded for research and development work in this
area. Research is viewed as contributing to the direction of education in a newly evolving country, and emphasis is
also given to international cooperation in research so that the quality of research can be maintained and the
comparability of research findings can itself be useful. Interestingly, given the change occur-

< previous page

page_5

next page >

< previous page

page_6

next page >


Page 6

ring within schools themselves, teachers have become much more receptive to research and the contribution that it
might make to education. Furthermore there is a burgeoning action research movement in which teachers
themselves are engaged in evaluation and development within their own classrooms and schools.
Over the past two decades, Spain has also undergone some radical social and educational changes and these have
reflected on both the growth of interest in educational research and on its nature and organisation, as Carlos
Marcelo describes. In the democratisation of the educational system, new university departments of education have
emerged with a research function. Research topics have developed out of educational policy changes. Now that the
management of schools has been devolved to the school level, the need for curriculum evaluation research, and
research on school leadership, teacher education and on mainstreaming have, for example, become evident.
Research is still a small-scale activity in Spain, and there are few professional associations or well organised
structures for supporting and co-ordinating research activity, though vigorous attempts are being made to develop
young researchers and to promote international links.
Britain, in contrast, has a relatively well organised and well funded educational research system, but, like other
countries, attitudes towards educational research and the impact and take-up of educational research findings are
problem areas. Furthermore, the UK lacks the integration into policy-making and evaluation that is characteristic
of some Scandinavian countries. This has become especially so over the past decade in the UK, where substantial
changes have occurred in the curriculum and organisation of schools. As Michael Bassey points out, these changes
have been largely ideologically motivated and have had little reliance upon research evidence as a means of
directing or managing the change. There has been an encouragement of an educational market-place, in which
schools are responsible for administering their own funds, in which competition amongst schools is sought after,
and in which standards are monitored through external examinations, inspections and the publication of league
tables. Unlike our European counterparts, control of education has become increasingly centralised, and the role of
educational research somewhat marginalised. One of the current features of educational research in the UK that
Michael Bassey highlights is that research agendas are often individually constructed and pursued and, in
consequence, there is often a lack of overall coherence in research efforts, a feature that might be rectified by more
team-working and greater levels of collaboration.

< previous page

page_6

next page >

< previous page

page_7

next page >


Page 7

The Development of Educational Research in Europe.


Looking across the different contributions to this book, it is clear that there are several areas of commonality as
well as some distinctive differences in the nature of educational research in Europe and how it is pursued. One of
its common distinguishing features seems to be its relatively low levels of funding which contrasts with the fact
that education itself, within all European countries, is a major area of public spending. The need to understand,
evaluate and develop educational processes and systems, and the contribution that research can play within this,
seems not to be widely recognised or defended. Interestingly, particular importance seems to be attached to
educational research in those countries that are, or have recently, undergone some substantial social change and
where educational reform is in progress, and research is seen as offering a potential source of direction. In some
countries, such as the Nordic countries, there also seems to be a stronger tradition of educational researchers
working more closely with policy-makers and practitioners. Overall, however, the general picture of educational
research within Europe that is created by the contributors is one of some fragmentation, and with generally weak
associations with policy and practice. Educational research occurs within a variety of different kinds of universities
and institutes. In some cases the focus of research is very much on short-term evaluation and development,
whereas in countries where research is more generously funded, there may be more concern with theoretical
development. The relationship between research, policymaking and practice will never be a simple and
unproblematic one. Policymakers, researchers and practitioners have different priorities and concerns and there is
no easy translation of research into policy and practice matters. Furthermore, evaluation and development are not
conducted within a theoretical or methodological vacuum and research of quality needs substantial investment to
make it truly informative rather than merely instrumental in existing policy and practice. There is clearly much to
be done, however, in several European countries in convincing policy-makers in particular that educational
research has an important role to play.
Several of the contributors draw attention to the fact that a good deal of educational research is not disseminated
beyond its country of origin, and, although there are a number of European associations that foster links amongst
educational researchers, there appears to be relatively little collaboration, or attempts to coordinate European
research efforts. While different European countries may be regarded in terms of different stages of development
of their educational research infrastructure, most of the contributors emphasise the benefits to be gained by
improved communication amongst educational researchers in Europe. Clearly one of the

< previous page

page_7

next page >

< previous page

page_8

next page >


Page 8

priorities for developing educational research is to improve the communications amongst researchers themselves.
Exchanges amongst educational researchers, European conferences and the establishment of a European
Educational Research Association or of other specialised networks of researchers might help to establish
educational research more fully and to lead to a greater sense of a European educational research community. Such
moves are certainly viewed by the authors of this book as positive steps towards improving the quality, status and
contribution of educational research within the whole of Europe.

< previous page

page_8

next page >

< previous page

page_9

next page >


Page 9

2
Educational Research in France
Raymond Bourdoncle
Let me begin with a warning: in France, educational research is entering a time of turmoil. Due to new educational
policy, 80% of school students are now entering the French baccalaureat, which is the equivalent of the English 'A
level'. Because of this, teacher education has been reorganised, and so will educational research in the near future.
Perhaps some of the things I am writing about here today will be changed within a few months.
How is Educational Research Organised in France?
First what institutions pursue educational research? There are three kinds of institutions: research institutions,
universities and a new institution: the university institutes for teacher-training (Institut Universitaire de Formation
des Matres).
Research Institutions
INRP: National Institute for Educational Research
This is the largest educational research institution with 107 researchers and five departments:
the department of educational history with a National Museum of History, one of the best research teams in
the history of education and one of the largest European libraries on education, with about one million books;
the department of didactics, focusing on how subjects are taught;
the department of educational technology;
the department for the study of 'educational practices, actors and politics'this is equivalent to research in the
sociology and psychology of education;
the department for research resources (data bases, computer centre, research library).

< previous page

page_9

next page >

< previous page

page_10

next page >


Page 10

The characteristic of this institution is to work with practising teachers (more than 2000) and to emphasise action
research.
CNRS: National Centre for Scientific Research
This is the largest French research institution: 17,000 researchers, 12,000 research assistants. However, it sponsors
almost no research on education. The CNRS is organised around academic subjects such as mathematics, physics,
psychology, sociology and not around applied domains like medicine, engineering or education.
As a consequence, there is no educational research laboratory belonging exclusively to the CNRS. But one can
find four associate laboratories, which are orientated towards academic subjects, which have some educational
involvement:
History of Education (which is an INRP team)
Economy
Sociology
Cognitive Psychology
Other Research Institutions with Some Involvement in Education.
Many research institutions have some connections with education, for example:
CEREQ: Centre for the Study and Research on Employment and Qualifications, with 87 researchers;
INETOP: National Institute for the Study of Work and Careers Counselling, with 21 researchers;
INSEP: National Institute for the Sports and Physical Education, with 33 researchers.
Universities
There are 77 public universities in France. Nineteen of them have a specific Department of Educational Sciences
and this area of study is also present in 20 other universities. Moreover educational research is conducted in other
departments, such as sociology or psychology.
The Departments of Educational Sciences are young. They were created in 1967. They deliver bachelor, masters
and doctoral degrees. For example in 1983 they delivered 1,250 bachelor degrees, 400 masters degrees and around
100 doctoral degrees. Since their beginning, 1,600 doctoral theses have been completed.
The Departments of Educational Sciences have a total of 250 academic members. In France, they are known as
teacher-researchers. Seventy-two

< previous page

page_10

next page >

< previous page

page_11

next page >


Page 11

of them are professors, and the others 'matres de conference', the equivalent of lecturers and senior lecturers.
If we add to these people the other department staff working on education and full-time educational researchers,
they would amount to around 1,000 persons.
The University Institute for Teacher Training (IUFM)
These are new institutions, rather like the former Colleges of Education in England. There are 27 of them. Created
in October 1991, they come from the merging of the former Teacher Training Institutions (Normal Schools for
Primary Teachers, the Special Normal Schools for Vocational Education and the Pedagogical Centres for
Secondary School Teachers).
This process was said to be a 'universitisation' of teacher education. Three hundred faculty members were
appointed in these new institutions, but they were joined by more than 2,500 teachers from the former teacher
training institutions. Most of these teachers have no experience of research. They teach academic knowledge,
knowledge that was created by other scientists and is recognised in the community of scientists in that subject. So
it is more an academisation of teacher education than a universitisation. This may be comparable in some respects
to the changes occurring in England after the Robbins Report in 1963, when some members of the college of
education staff taught the sociology, philosophy, history and psychology of education, which were researched at
the London Institute of Education and in some other universities, but not in the colleges themselves.
What are the Major Professional Organisations for Educational Researchers?
AECSE: Association des enseignants et chercheurs en sciences de l'ducation (Association of Faculty Members
and Researchers in Education Sciences).
This association has more than 300 members. Most of them are members of the Educational Science faculty.
Like BERA, AECSE organises a conference every year.
AFIRSE: Association francophone internationale de recherche scientifique de l'ducation (International Frenchspeaking Association for the Scientific Study of Education).
This organisation has 170 members in the French section, but with other members from other Frenchspeaking countries.

< previous page

page_11

next page >

< previous page

page_12

next page >


Page 12

How is Educational Research Funded?


There are two ways:
(1) Ordinary grants given each year: significant funding comes through this means for research institutions, which
are very few, but there is work for any of the numerous university laboratories and research departments. Research
in the latter is self-supported, although some reform of this situation is on the way.
(2) Special grants and commissioned research. Some of these are requests to a specific research team, on a specific
topic and for a specified amount of money. Most of them come from two Departments: Education and Scientific
Research. Some others are 'appel d'offre', appeals for proposals on a large theme. Any research team can apply,
and the best proposals are granted. This approach is becoming more common and is seen as having many
advantages: it stimulates competition amongst the researchers, and it helps research administrators to direct
research towards priority themes and to evaluate research teams.
As an example, one of the most recent 'appel d'offre' indicates the present research priorities of the Department of
Education:
(1) the study of the process and problems of learning drawing upon the cognitive sciences, and neuropsychology;
(2) the analysis of the teacher's and pupils' classroom behaviour from a sociopsychological and a didactics
perspective (didactics concerns the teaching and learning of particular subject matter);
(3) the analysis of school practices outside the classroom;
(4) the new roles and partnerships between schools, parents, local and regional authorities;
(5) comparative research on the minimal knowledge base, the criteria of examination and the levels of qualification
for people with low level diplomas.
Conclusion: Towards European Collaboration
These few simple details on educational research in France, or even a more detailed picture, may unfortunately not
be enough for us to be able understand each other. Words and history separate us. Let me conclude with an
anecdote: when our Science of Education Research Association met German educational scientists, we
immediately had a problem: we did not mean exactly the same thing when we said 'Bildung' in German and
'formation' in French. And 'training', the English equivalent, is again subtly different. As we build the world with
our words, we are not living in an exactly similar world, even if we are in the same European Community. We

< previous page

page_12

next page >

< previous page

page_13

next page >


Page 13

have to work on that too, if we want to understand each other. There is a lot of work to do together.
The second impediment to our common understanding lies in forgetting the specific history of each of our
countries. For instance, in France, the state is strong. A strong state often does not like decentralised agencies
because they tend to preserve their own power and reduce the influence of the state. In France, universities are
viewed in this way by the state. When France needed more research in a domain like nuclear physics, or other parts
of sciences or even pedagogy, it preferred the creation of state research institutions (CEA, CNRS, INRP, . . .)
rather than to entrust this work to universities. As a consequence, research is weak in universities and French
universities are weak, compared with those in several other European countries.
But to be in the same European Community means that some impediments of history to our mutual understanding
are perhaps becoming weaker. Within the liberal orientation of the European Community, the French state accepts
that it will become weaker, that it cannot organise all of society and that it must let the universities become
stronger. Although we have not the same past, perhaps we have a common future.

< previous page

page_13

next page >

< previous page

page_14

next page >


Page 14

3
Educational Research in United Germany.
Volker Lenhart
The Institutionalisation of Education as an Academic and Research Discipline and the Repercussions of
Unification
The institutionalisation of education as an academic and research discipline in the western part of Germany has
been the topic of several studies in the late 1980s. Connected with the general expansion of institutions of higher
education since 1960 (university students 1960: 250,000; 1988: 1,100,000) and following a rapid growth of teacher
training between 19601975, education as an academic discipline has grown substantially. Professorial positions
multiplied from 196 in 1966 to 825 in 1977 and 1100 in 1980. In the 1980s, however, 10% of professorial
positions were abolished. In 1990 the discipline had approximately 1150 academic positions in non-professorial
ranks.
Education as a research and academic discipline in the former GDR was institutionalised in two quantitatively
nearly equal segments: in institutions of higher education, especially universities, and in central research institutes,
of which the largest was the Academy of Educational Sciences. The overall number of academic personnel was
about 1400.
The reunification of Germany in October 1990 meant a dramatic change for the academic institutionalisation of
education in East Germany. The discipline was considered like law, history, economics, and philosophy as being
very seriously affected by communist ideology leading to the 'pedagogics by commanding' thatas many observers
believedprevailed in eastern schools. On the other hand some research results (e.g. concerning technology
education, the teaching of mixed ability groups, and in some areas of the history of education) had been
internationally recognised.
The last (democratically elected) government of GDR insisted that the Academy of Educational Science was not to
be treated like other central research institutions. The Academy was closed December 31, 1991. Of its

< previous page

page_14

next page >

< previous page

page_15

next page >


Page 15

then still about 630 employees only some 20 were given non-tenured employment in the western Frankfurt-based
German Institute for International Educational Research.
The five new Lnder (states) of the Federal Republic of Germany started a concentration process of academic
institutions. The GDR had maintained 54 institutions of higher education, ranging from traditional large
universities to small specialised colleges. These are to be concentrated into a dozen universities, the small colleges
being transformed mainly into Fachhochschulen (not fully academic institutions of higher education). According to
western standards eastern departments of education were greatly overstaffed. While we have five professors
running our Heidelberg department with six lecturers and research assistants, the Humboldt University department
at Berlin had in July 1992 seventy staff members of these ranks on the pay-roll, the numbers of students in
educational programmes being not very much different. The budget plan for the new department at Humboldt
contains 31 positions in non professorial ranks; the restructuring process for the professorial positions at Humboldt
is already overin 22 professorial jobs 20 people come from western and only two from eastern Germany. The
selection committee administered strict criteria of research quality, with some allowance made for the limited
research facilities of eastern candidates.
For other eastern departments currently in the process of restructuring the results may not be as dramatic as at
Berlin, but an informed estimate indicates that in 1993 only some 30% of the eastern academic educational
personnel of 1989 will in the near future hold positions in the academic system. Unlike other disciplines, the EastWest migration is very limited in education. It is higher for younger research assistants, lecturers (we at
Heidelberg employ two people from the new Lnder) but I know only one case where a western professorial chair
was given to an eastern researcher.
Funding of Research
There are three main types of financing for research:
(1) Self-supported research activities; i.e. individuals or research groups use the funds of their institutions,
especially their own salaries, to do research. Most published research results have been generated through this
mechanism. This is also true for most research activities of the two large-scale educational research institutes
outside universities in Germany, that is the Frankfurt German Institute of International Educational Research and
the Berlin Max Planck Institute for Educational Research and Human Development.

< previous page

page_15

next page >

< previous page

page_16

next page >


Page 16

(2) Commissioned research; government institutions, non governmental agencies and private companies
commission researchers, mainly from universities, to do a certain research project. A lot of research funding from
federal agencies is currently available for research on the retraining of the unemployed, especially women, in the
five new Lnder. As more and more private research and consulting firms jump into the market, competition for
this commissioned research becomes stronger.
(3) Free externally financed research; the main donor agency of this type of research funding is the Deutsche
Forschungsgemeinschaft (German agency for research funding)this is an institution collecting research funds from
industry and government; it is self-administered, with a system of elected referees to judge proposals. In the socalled 'ordinary programme' in 1991 for education 137 research projects were sent in of which 80 were accepted
(58%). The total amount of money given to these was 7.7 million DM, forming an average of 96000 DM for each
project.
Relationship to Policy and Practice
With the exception of governmentally commissioned research and research conducted in state research institutes,
the linkage between research and the political sphere is more indirect than direct. Research results get through to
political decision makers via intermediate stations, especially the bureaucracy in ministries. The influence is more
on small-scale policies than on large-scale ones, and is more through researchers than research itselfthat is,
researchers sitting on advisory committees and being involved in formulating policy papers etc. Well known
researchers are relatively active in these contexts.
As everywhere, the main influence of educational research on practitioners is through teaching in universities and
colleges. The professional knowledge of teachers, social workers, adult educators, and vocational trainers is an
amalgamation of scientific theories including research results, subjective constructs, and implicit theories formed
by practical experience. Research data are only one input to this type of knowledge.
The German Educational Research Association maintains established contacts with the teachers' unions and the
two nationwide associations of MA and Diploma Degree holders in education.
Paradigms and Topics
Since the end of the 1960s, there have been five paradigms that could be found in West German educational
theory:

< previous page

page_16

next page >

< previous page

page_17

next page >


Page 17

(1) a normative approach (e.g. conservative value position);


(2) a historic-philosophical position (geisteswissenschaftliche Pdagogik);
(3) a critical rationalist approach (following K. Popper);
(4) a critical theory (e.g. Habermas);
(5) a Marxist position.
In the 1980s new approaches were tried out:
(1) systems theory (following Luhmann in the tradition of Parsons);
(2) evolutionist perspective;
(3) feminist perspective.
At the end of the 1980s the sharp conflicts between proponents of different paradigms were mitigated by
compromises at different levels of explanation.
The official paradigm in East Germany was specifically Marxist-Leninist. Without leaving the officially
prescribed cover of this position in the 1980s some researchers dared to borrow partial explanatory theories that
had been developed in the West within other paradigms. However, the collapse of communism affected the
support for Marxist theory in the West. In the educational theory of United Germany, Marxism is in a more
marginal position than it used to be in old West Germany.
A look at the themes of recent doctoral theses and post doctoral dissertations (Habitilationsschriften) gives a rough
overview of research topics. Table 3.1 shows West Germany alone up until 1989, in which period most research
has been done in the foundations of education, in 'schooling' (including school as a social institution, curriculum
and instruction, teacher training) and in social work (which is considered to be an educational subdiscipline in
Germany). The relative growth of 'schooling' in the 1990s reflects the emphasis given to this field in East German
educational research.
European Cooperation
As far as our discipline follows the pattern of a 'normal science', international cooperation exists but does not work
as well as it might. When planning a new research project, researchers usually look around at what has been done
in the field elsewhere. In Western Europe this process is biased by language barriers and an affiliated informal
power structure. A German educationist will usually check what has been done on his/her research topic in the
English-speaking world, but he/she will not equally, unless a comparative specialist, look at the French or Spanish
research literature.

< previous page

page_17

next page >

< previous page

next page >

page_18

Page 18
Table 3.1 Breakdown of doctoral and post-doctoral dissertations by subject area
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990
% % % % % % % % % % %
Foundations of
1 Education

19.9 22.6 13.8 27.3 19.0 21.1 25.7 27.1 27.4 20.5 14.9

2 Vocational Training

8.8 5.0 4.6 4.9 2.6

6.3

7.2

8.2

9.8

5.8 10.6

Adult Education/
3 Continuing Education

5.1 5.9 13.4 4.9 4.8

4.2

2.4

3.5

2.8

8.2

2.9

Womens' Studies
4 in Education

1.4 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.5

1.7

1.2

2.0

1.1

4.4

4.5

1.3

0.8

0.8

0.8

5 Leisure Time Education

0.5 1.4 0.4 1.1

6 Peace Education

0.5 0.9 2.3 0.4

7 History of Education

9.7 7.2 8.8 12.5 9.5

5.1

5.2 5.9

9.5

7.5

7.7

Education in
8 Early Childhood

1.9 2.7 1.4 1.1 0.5

1.3

1.2 2.0

1.1

9 Special Education

5.6 5.9 3.2 3.8 7.4

6.3

5.2

4.7

3.9 10.6 6.1

10 Physical Education

1.9 1.8 1.8 2.3 2.6

1.7

3.2

3.5

0.7

11 Social Work

10.2 13.6 13.4 14.8 23.8 21.5 23.3 21.6 23.2 11.6 11.2

12 Schooling

21.3 27.6 26.7 20.1 18.5 23.6 16.9 12.5 14.7 20.1 26.6

2.3

4.5

13 Comparative Education 9.3 4.5 5.1 4.2 4.8

3.4

5.2

5.5

4.2

6.8

9.6

14 Other Categories

2.5

2.4

2.0

1.1

1.4

4.6 0.9 3.2 2.7 4.8

German input to British debates in education tends to be minimal. Some amelioration of this situation might occur
through strengthening the input and the user capacity of the European educational data banks, EUDISED and
EURYDICE. When young German research students, for example, begin to carry out a EUDISED search as a
normal procedure just as he/she may already do an ERIC search, this will be noticeable progress.
As far as bi- or multi-lateral research projects are concerned the main difficulty among researchers is not contact
but funding. The programmes of the EC, especially ERASMUS and PETRA, are used already, but the networking
could be stronger.
The main problem these days is how to integrate the educational research communities of the Eastern part of
Central and Eastern Europe. During the past year, our Heidelberg department received requests for cooperation
from Schools of Education in Estonia, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Our University entered a partnership
programme with the University of St Petersburg in Russia. Partnerships between departments may be a feasible
way of bringing our eastern European colleagues into the debates. For the time being this means some financial
commitment from

< previous page

page_18

next page >

< previous page

page_19

next page >


Page 19

the western partners. The TEMPUS programme of the EC is a useful instrument for this purpose.
Some Concluding Remarks from a Comparative Perspective.
Common Segments of Research Discussions
German researchers share with their British colleagues many practical problems in the field of education with a
range of research findings and discussions on these practical issues. But the overlap in the research literature is
one-sided. While many German educationists have at least selective knowledge of what has been done on their
specific topic in the English-speaking world (e.g. knowing authors and their research publications) our British
colleagues only very seldom, unless they are comparative specialists, look at German publications. British
colleagues' knowledge of the German literature is probably greater for major background theories, such as the
theories of Weber or Habermas.
Assessing the 'State of the Art'
In most areas our respective research debates are at the same level, but there are occasions where one or other
country's debates are at a different stage of development. For example: my impression is that British colleagues are
more experienced and 'fluent' in applying qualitative methods, but that we are equal in the elaboration of this
methodology, and that Germans are more concerned with the epistemological basis of this type of research. To cite
a further example, the education of children with special needs is more advanced in England than in Germany
which adheres to a rigid categorisation of handicapped learners into types of schools. Following this advanced
practice, British research on the topic appears to be very elaborate. On the other hand vocational training for
adolescents and young adults with physical, sensory or severe learning difficulties, is better institutionalised in
Germany and research on that type of vocational education is well developed.
Sharing Research (and Practice) Experiences
Looking at what has been done elsewhere, outside one's own, language-bound research community, may
contribute to making our discipline more a 'normal science' like other well established research areas. But it may
even do more. In a symposium examining career progression and teacher education in the UK, I was reminded of
some contrasting problems German

< previous page

page_19

next page >

< previous page

page_20

next page >


Page 20

teacher educators experienced in the 1980s because of massive teacher unemployment, leaving thousands of young
trained teachers without any coherent professional progression. We have some at least tentative research findings
on how to cope with this situation which our British colleagues might wish to look at should teacher
unemployment become a serious topic in the UK.
To secure at least Europe-wide checks of existing research findings on one's own research topic, the capacity of
inputs to European educational data banks EUDISED and EURYDICE should be strengthened and researchers'
'user skills' of these data banks be improved (as well as researchers encouraged to utilise them).

< previous page

page_20

next page >

< previous page

page_21

next page >


Page 21

4
Educational Research in Italy
Marco Todeschini
Terminology
A preliminary discussion would be necessary, or at least very useful, to identify a clear and straightforward
definition of educational research which could be commonly shared. Should we recognise and accept as
educational research only a kind of work that strictly follows the most rigorous patterns of scientific rules of
hypothesis formulation, data collecting and data analysis? If so, it should be stated immediately that very little of
this kind of research takes place in Italy.
The question 'what is research?' immediately prompts another question 'who is a researcher?' In this connection it
should also be noted that, apart from universities and research institutions in both the public and private sector,
there are quite a lot of organisations in the service industries, with staff members whose function is not clearly
determined as technical, administrative or clerical, and who are called (and they recognise themselves as)
'ricercatore' or, literally, researcher. Since their job is often only loosely connected with the classical paradigm of
scientific research, it can be said that their function is closer to the one frequently referred to, in English, as that of
an 'analyst'.
Now, if we take the broadest and loosest definition of research concerning education, we find that a wide variety of
agencies deal with education lato sensu. It should be noted, however, that the distinction, so clear in English,
between 'Education' and 'Training', or in German between 'Erziehung' and 'Bildung', is not as sharp and clear in
Italy; this means that the equivalent of DFE, i.e. MPI (Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione) covers what in the UK
amounts to further education, including vocational training, both on the public (governmental) and on the nongovernmental side. Most of these agencies include, to some extent, some educational research activity.

< previous page

page_21

next page >

< previous page

page_22

next page >


Page 22

The Public Sector.


State Administration, All Levels
A central (national) institution of the same kind as the French INRP (Institut National de Recherche Pdagogique)
has never existed in Italy, in spite of efforts to create one as a section of the CNR (Consiglio Nazionale delle
RicercheNational Council for Research). Among the many research institutes within the framework of CNR there
is a National Institute of Psychology, but nothing similar could ever emerge in Education. Neither of the Ministries
directly dealing with education, i.e. MPI, already mentioned, and MURST (Ministero dell'Universit e della
Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica) has a comparable unit for educational research. MLPS (Ministero del Lavoro e
della Previdenza SocialeMinistry of Labour and Social Security) supports ISFOL (IStituto per la FOrmazione dei
LavoratoriInstitute for Training) whose structure is tripartite as that of ILO, or the French AFPA (Agence pour la
Formation Professionnelle des Adultes).
On the governmental side, research activity in the area of education and training is undertaken at each one of the
four levels: (a) national, (b) regional, (c) provincial (county level), and (d) municipal, to the extent that each one of
these levels has responsibilities in the area of education and training.
(1) MPI has an Ufficio studi, progammazione e metodi (Inquiry, planning and methods bureau) whose influence on
ministerial policies is as limited as its size. While it should be the 'think-tank' of the Ministry and support its
policy-making, in actual fact each one of the powerful Directorates General acts autonomously and the bureau's
work is mostly consultative. More important and influential is CEDE (Centro Europeo Dell'EducazioneEuropean
Centre for Education) whose name shows its main orientation: most of its work is comparative, in cooperation
with several countries. IEA studies, for instance, are based there. Still a part of the ministerial structure, but acting
at regional level in each one of the twenty regions are IRRSAE (Istituti Regionali di Ricerca, Sperimentazione e
Aggiornamento Educativi Regional Institutes for Educational Research, Experimentation and INSET). Each
Provveditorato agli studi, the authority for education, representing MPI at the county level, has a study and inquiry
unit.
(2) Regional governments have specific competencies in sectors of what in the UK would be further education,
ranging from vocational training to post-secondary non-university education. Moreover, guidance is irrationally
split between orientamento scolastico (school guidance), a responsibility of the central school structure
(specifically through the

< previous page

page_22

next page >

< previous page

page_23

next page >


Page 23

school districts), and orientamento professionale (job guidance), the latter being a responsibility of the regional
governments. As a consequence, most regional governments have set up their own study and research unit to
support their policy- and decision-making.
(3) Provincial (county level) governments have several planning and managerial responsibilities in secondary
education, in connection with central government and the local structure of the Ministry (Provvedi-torati agli
studii). According to regional legislation, some regions have delegated functions to provincial government that are
normally undertaken at the regional level. To support their policies, especially the planning function, several
provincial governments have set up and run study and research centres. To take just one example, the Province of
Milan, whose overall school population accounts for 8% of the total nationwide, has been financing for more than
twenty years CISEM (Centro per l'Innovazione e la Sperimentazione Educativa, Milano) to support its policy- and
decision-making in deciding locations and technical features of new school buildings, and other matters within the
responsibility of the provincial government.
(4) The same applies to municipal governments, whose responsibilities in connection with the Ministry concern
compulsory education (primary and lower secondary) plus a sector of upper secondary, whilein connection with
the regional governmentsin some regions they have been delegated managerial responsibilities. Moreover, most
pre-school provision within the state sector is run by municipalities. This explains the widespread presence of
study units at the municipal level. Once again taking the case of Milan, its municipal government has had for more
than twenty-five years CIE (Centro per l'Innovazione Educativa) to stimulate and coordinate studies in the specific
fields of competency: most of the activities of the Centre deal with infant schools, since most of these schools, in
Milan as elsewhere in Italy, are run by the municipality.
At all levels the actual 'research' activity is done both by permanent staff, i.e. by civil servants, and by consultants;
some of the latter are occasional, selected and contacted ad hoc for specific projects, while some are in fact a part
of the permanent staff, although they do not belong to the formal structure as civil servants.
The funding for all these institutions and study/research units comes essentially from the state budget, starting with
the allocations set annually by a national act of Parliament, down to specific allocations of resources decided upon
by the relevant decision-maker (councils for the general guidelines, cabinets for the actual decisions). Some of
these bodies may also

< previous page

page_23

next page >

< previous page

page_24

next page >


Page 24

act as consultative agencies for others. Major towns or provinces, whose resources allow the support of more
active centres, may run specific inquiries on behalf of smaller towns and provinces whose resources would make it
impossible to do so directly: this obviously means they can receive financial resources from sources other than
their regular operational budget.
Academic Structures
As has been said before, no section of the National Council for Research could ever be set up to deal specifically
with educational research. Some school-oriented research, however, is done within the National Institute of
Psychology.
Among the sixty existing universities (mostly public, with few exceptions), twenty-five host the degree
programme in pedagogia. Courses in the educational area are provided in eight universities with departments of
education, thirteen with institutes (contrary to the British practice, an institute is in Italy smaller than a
department), while eleven have chairs and courses in education within wider departments and/or institutes. The
research activity of each unit varies in size and influence according to the size of the unit itself. Some departments
are similar in size to, for instance, the Institute of Education, University of London, while others are very small
and have to cope with so few students that resources available for research, in terms of time and money, are very
limited. Financial support for research activities comes mainly from state (central) sources:
(1) From MURST (the Ministry for universities) through the so-called 60% and 40%. The overall budget,
available at the national level, is allocated by the ministry to each individual university up to 60% and it is then
allocated within each university according to its own criteria and under its own control, while 40% supports interuniversity research and is allocated by a range of national committees: there is no specific committee for
education, consequently proposals can be considered by the historical-philosophical or the social sciences
committees.
(2) From CNR, to which the same applies, in that no specific committee exists for education.
(3) From MPL, if and when its Ufficio studi asks a university to do research on its behalf, and when IRRSAEs take
on academics as consultants, project-leaders, or in some other related role.
Apart from state sources, universities can be requested to do research on behalf of agencies or enterprises to which
they sell their services, getting additional financial support.

< previous page

page_24

next page >

< previous page

page_25

next page >


Page 25

While most higher education institutions are state institutions and get their resources from the Ministry, even
private ones get a substantial part of their financial resources from the national treasury, as their action is taken to
be subsidiary to that of the Ministry, and tuition fees can only partially cover the actual costs.
The Non-governmental Sector
Coming to the non-governmental side, we can find quite a variety of agencies, whose activities include in various
forms educational matters lato sensu, i.e. regarding educational policies, school issues, training, etc., and therefore
having implications for educational research. Without trying to give a complete inventory, we can mention:
several cultural foundations supported by the major private or state-supported corporations, such as FIAT, IRI,
Pirelli and others;
specialised agencies such as CENSIS (CENtro Studi Investimenti SocialiResearch Agency on Social
Investments: housing, health, transportation, school, etc.)formally private but working mainly for the various
governmental levels, IARD (Associazione per lo studio sperimentale dei problemi dei giovani), CNITE (Centro
Nazionale Italiano per le Tecnologie Educative), FORMEZ (FORmazione MEZzogiorno) and others;
churches, mainly the Roman Catholic, but also reformed (which are in Italy very tiny minorities);
political parties with their cultural institutions and study centres, as well as trade unions with their own specific
institutions (e.g. ECAP, IAL, ENFAP etc.) acting in the area of education and training;
non-state agencies whose main responsibility is to run further education activities on behalf of the regional
governments (called Enti gestori, such as CNOS, ENAIP, and others); when acting nationwide, they can have their
own study/research institutions.
Financial support for inquiries, studies or fully fledged educational research is part of the operational budget of
these various agencies, and/or comes from selling services, both on the market and to governmental agencies at all
levels, from municipal to national (this is specifically, as mentioned before, the case of CENSIS, producing,
amongst other things, a yearly report on the state of social affairs, on behalf of CNEL, Consiglio Nazionale
dell'Economia e del Laboro, a constitutional body at national level).
'Researchers' can be, as it has been said in the preliminary remarks about current terminology, at very different
levels of expertise and training. While in most cases they are in fact doing clerical work whose distinctiveness is

< previous page

page_25

next page >

< previous page

page_26

next page >


Page 26

simply that of being oriented towards information, in some cases they can compete quite effectively with
university researchers, and in fact they do.
Current Priorities
The topmost priority, as can be easily inferred from the pattern sketched so far, should be stated in organisational
terms rather than in terms of aims, goals and topics. The size of the overall investment of resources in studies
concerning education and training can be considered adequate. Yet it does not result in fully satisfactory results in
terms of output. Hence it is not unreasonable to state that coordination and cooperation are the most urgent
priorities. In spite of this, however, it would be hard to detect signs of reliable attempts at coordination.
Now coming to content, and starting from the formal educational structures, i.e. the school system:
thorough empirical studies ought to be carried out, concerning the governance of the system, from the central
ministerial structure to the individual school, to support a badly needed structural reform;
as access to the teaching profession does not follow, at present, a specific training (all secondary school teachers,
with minor exceptions, are required to hold a university degree, but this is subject-matter oriented and no training
for the teaching function is provided), studies in this field are another urgent priority;
better links of pre-school with primary, and of primary with junior high (scuola media) should be planned and
implemented, to strengthen basic education and give a more reliable background to upper secondary education,
both in its academic lines (Liceo classico, liceo scientifico, liceo linguistico, liceo artistico, istituto magistrale) and
in its technical lines (industrial, commercial, agricultural, etc.);
all tertiary education is awaiting deep changes concerning structure, content, teaching, organisation and
management, to increase the overall productivity and performance: the need for extensive research in this field is
very high;
more generally promoting and strengthening research on educational planning at all levels, but especially in
postcompulsory education, could give a substantial background and support to policy-making.
When considering education in a broader sense, a need for research can be felt in other areas, such as, to give a
few examples:
educational fallout (or side-effects) of mass communication by electronic media, mainly TV;
more specifically, feasibility and cost-benefit assessment of distance education by conventional means and
broadcasting;

< previous page

page_26

next page >

< previous page

page_27

next page >


Page 27

design and implementation of educational programmes tailored and aimed at special target groups (young
adults/dropouts, jobless and unemployed, immigrants, 'third age', etc.);
credit or voucher systems as forms of recurrent education for industrial retraining, cultural enhancement etc.
Educational Research, Policy-making, Educational Practice
If we were to consider educational research according to the most exacting paradigms, it would be hard to prove
that its results have an immediate and direct effect on policy-making and decision-making at government level.
However, if we agree to taking a broader definition, as suggested in the opening of this analysis, there is no doubt
that government and administrative bodies make systematic use of the results of inquiries and studies concerning
educational issues. It would be a difficult task, however, to try and evaluate the effectiveness of these study-based,
decision-making procedures, as it may be that empirical surveys concerning the same topic result in contradictory
reports by different branches of the same service and/or external consultants, as a consequence of minor or major
changes in the description of the task by the officials concerned and other red tape bottlenecks and shortcomings.
When looking to educational practices, it is apparent that they are in fact influenced by results of empirical studies
when these are made available to teaching and administrative staff. The evaluation of their effect, however, can
only be speculative.
European Collaboration in Educational Research.
There is no doubt that Italy would profit from increased collaboration with other countries, both European and
non-European. This prompts the following observations:
on the one hand, it is well known that Italy is comparatively slower than the other EC countries in promoting
and supporting exchanges within the framework of EC programmes such as COMETT, ERASMUS, LINGUA,
TEMPUS, etc.;
on the other hand the ERASMUS IPC in education involving a large number of institutions of higher education
has been promoted by the University of Florence, and
it has been within that ICP that NICOPED, the Network of International Cooperation in Education, originated
whose foundation conference was held in Florence, November 1992.

< previous page

page_27

next page >

< previous page

page_28

next page >


Page 28

While this happened quite recently and it is too early to try and assess the results of such a network, it should not
be forgotten that Italy has long been an active partner for several IEA studies, and that many Italian academic
researchers are active members of international organisations such as EARLI.
Let us express the wish that international cooperation in this field could soon find effective ways to be increased
and improved, if anything, as a consequence of an exchange of researchers, a practice that has thrived in several
countries.

< previous page

page_28

next page >

< previous page

page_29

next page >


Page 29

5
Educational Research in the Netherlands
Gellof Kanselaar
Introduction
This review is focused firstly on the Dutch Educational Research Association and on the education support
structure in the Netherlands, and secondly on the way in which research is organised in the Netherlands.
The Dutch Educational Research Association (VOR)
The Dutch Educational Research Association (VOR) was founded in 1975. It has about 450 members and consists
of seven divisions:
(1) Curriculum Studies and Organisation;
(2) Learning and Instruction;
(3) Education and Society;
(4) Methodology and Evaluation;
(5) Teacher Training and Teacher Behaviour;
(6) Human Resource Development: vocational training and in-company training;
(7) Higher Education and Adult Education.
The activities of the VOR include organisation of an annual conference on educational research. About 600 people
attend this conference which is organised at a different university each year. VOR also publishes a bimonthly
journalthe Journal of Educational Research (TOR).
The Education Support Structure in the Netherlands
Several agencies for educational research, development, dissemination and guidance in the Netherlands together
constitute the national support structure for education. It was recognised at an early stage that the different support
institutions would have to function within a coherent structure in order to offer the most effective guidance for the
development of schools

< previous page

page_29

next page >

< previous page

page_30

next page >


Page 30

and schooling. This need for a coherent structure became a phenomenon in its own right and was one of the
principles on which legislation concerning the support structure was based. The Education Support Structure Act
was the result of discussions over many years between school organisations and the government about how
coherence in the activities of the support agencies could best be realised.
The education support structure in the Netherlands is made up of two types of institutes: those that provide general
educational support and those that have a specific mission. Among the general educational support institutes are
some 65 school counselling services (SBDs), which operate at a local or regional level. Services offered by the
SBDs range from individual psychological testing and advice to helping schools develop remedial teaching
programmes and local instructional materials. In general SBDs are of a 'neutral' character in the sense that they are
not affiliated to, or represent any of the religious denominations (Catholic, Protestant, non-denominational) that
play an important role in many aspects of Dutch education. In addition, there are three national educational
advisory centres (LPCs) Unlike the SBDs, these offer their services (throughout the country) only to schools of the
particular denominations they represent. The services offered by these centres focus on secondary education and
on structural and organisational problems.
The second type of educational support system has a more specific mission. It consists of three national institutes
which focus on the development and improvement of the education system through research, measurement of
educational achievement, and curriculum development. These institutes are, respectively, the National Institute for
Educational Research (SVO), the National Institute for Educational Measurement (CITO) and the National
Institute for Curriculum Development (SLO).
CITO develops and administers tests for national examinations and for individual schools. It processes test results
and reports the outcomes to schools, parents and pupils. For two years CITO, together with SVO, has also been
engaged in the national assessment of educational achievement. CITO is responsible for developing and
administering the assessment instruments and for reporting the results, while SVO conducts the research which
aids the interpretation and use of the findings of the assessment programmes.
SLO's task is the development of general curricula for the schools. The adjective 'general' should be stressed here,
because, due to the constitutionally anchored principle of freedom of education in the Netherlands, a national and
publicly financed institute like SLO cannot prescribe in detail the form and content of school curricula. Therefore,
SLO develops a broad

< previous page

page_30

next page >

< previous page

page_31

next page >


Page 31

curricular framework for almost every subject area in primary and secondary education in such a way that
individual schools can implement the curricula in accordance with their own educational philosophy.
Organisation of Research in the Netherlands
The research carried out in the Netherlands falls into four categories, according to the sources through which it is
financed.
Research Financed by Universities.
The primary financial source is called the 'Conditionally Funded Research Program' (VFO). It covers the right to
research time granted to university lecturers who are on the permanent staff and participate in a research
programme. About 40% of their time is available for carrying out research if they are a member of an officially
approved research programme. These research programmes are evaluated every five years. Criteria for evaluation
are output (publications) and coherence of the programme. There are about 16 conditionally funded research
programmes in educational sciences in the Netherlands.
Research Funded by the Institute for Educational Research (SVO)
The Institute for Educational Research was instituted in 1965 by the Dutch Ministry of Education and Science as
the Foundation for Educational Research (SVO, after its Dutch initials). As a result of the Education Support Act
(WOV) in January 1987, SVO became part of the Education Support Structure under its present name.
The Education Support Structure and SVO
SVO can be compared to a national Science Council on the one hand, and to a research contracting agency on the
other. The leading principle in SVO's activities is that of the customer-contractor relationship. The main customers
are the nation's four Schools Councils, on which both school practitioners and the national government are
represented. Both parties are entitled to 40% of SVO's annual budget of approximately 7 million ECUs. The
remaining 20% is used for 'fundamental strategic research' on SVO's own initiative. This latter type of research is
oriented toward theory development and evaluation.
Most policy and practice oriented research is carried out by five university-based educational research institutes.
About 75% of all educational research in the Netherlands is channelled via SVO. However, it is part of SVO's task
to coordinate all educational research. Decision-making takes place through SVO's Board of Directors, on which
educational practitioners, the government

< previous page

page_31

next page >

< previous page

page_32

next page >


Page 32

and the research community are all represented. It is SVO's explicit responsibility to establish research
programmes for policy and practice oriented research.
Documentary Support
Apart from programming, coordinating, assessing and funding research, SVO offers documentary assistance. SVO
coordinates all documentation activities for educational research within the national education support structure.
The Documentation Department enters research findings in the national Dutch database DION. SVO also
participates at several levels in the European Documentation and Information Service (EUDISED) of the Council
of Europe.
The Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
NWO is the organisation for fundamental research. NWO consists of 34 foundations, one of which is the
foundation for pedagogical research. One of the five divisions of this foundation concerns research in education.
About 5% of the total budget is spent on research in the social sciences (9 million ECU) but only about 100,000
ECU is spent on educational research. Individual researchers may submit a research proposal on their own
initiative through a university department or a research institute. This will normally concern research that is of a
fundamental character. The proposal is judged by peers.
Miscellaneous Organisations
The fourth source constitutes a variety of funding agents, including government grants from the Ministry of
Education and Science and other Ministries, but also local authorities and industry. In the last few years an
increasing number of research projects have fallen into this category due to government policy for decentralisation.
Discussion.
One of the main problems for educational researchers in the Netherlands is that it is very hard to obtain funding
for basic research, because researchers cannot submit a research proposal on their own initiative to the SVO. Most
of the educational research funding is spent on applied research. The consequences of this are less theory building
and more short-term solutions for educational problems. A second urgent problem is the decrease in funding
provided to educational research by the Ministry of Education and Science.

< previous page

page_32

next page >

< previous page

page_33

next page >


Page 33

6
Educational Research in the Nordic Countries
Mats Ekholm
The five Nordic statesDenmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Swedenhave altogether about 23 million
inhabitants. About 4.5 million inhabitants of these five countries are students of comprehensive and secondary
schools. The school systems are rather similar in the five countries. All of them have a simple structure. Most
children start school the year when they become seven years old, but a school start at six years of age is acceptable
in more than one of the countries. Pre-school systems are developed in all five of the countries, as the proportion
of parents that have their work outside the home is comparatively high. In 1990 87% of 25-54 year old males in
Denmark were employed. The figures for women in the same age group were 80% in Denmark, 84% in Finland,
76% in Norway and 90% in Sweden. At the base of the school systems there is a comprehensive school for all
children that runs for nine or ten years. The differentiation of the students begins when the students are more than
fifteen years old, when they attend secondary schools. Secondary schools are seen as important parts of the school
system and are open to all students who are leaving the comprehensive schools in most of the countries. A large
majority of each year-group of young people go to the secondary school level for two or three years of study after
the comprehensive school.
Comprehensive and secondary education costs about 50 billion US$ per year in the five countries. By comparison,
research funding that is given to support the understanding of the school processes and to stimulate educational
innovation is extremely small. In Sweden, where the largest investment in research on education occurs, a total of
about 30 million SEK were spent in 1990 on research in the school area where about 2000 times that figure was
used for school services.

< previous page

page_33

next page >

< previous page

page_34

next page >


Page 34

Approaches to Educational Research


The aim of research in education is to explain what happens when people participate in educational processes. In a
broad sense the explanations are found by researchers using three different means. In one case, explanations are
found as a result of predictions. The researcher uses the existing body of knowledge and presents his prediction of
what will happen. If the prediction is proved right it supports the existing knowledge. In another case, the
researcher is concerned with understanding the educational processes as they are. Participating and observing as
well as questioning the actors in the educational process is the usual basis for this type of research activity. The
third approach to finding explanations is to make changes in the present situation. By helping new actions to occur
the researcher may be able to detect what forces were maintaining the status quo or to find out the relative
strengths of different forces that were working at the same time.
Looking at the scene of educational research in the Nordic countries the three approaches seem to be differentially
used. The most common means of advancing knowledge is to combine the understanding and predictive traditions.
Judging from the last three years' annual meetings of the NFPF (Nordic Society of Educational Researchers)
researchers in this part of the world conduct numerous studies in which they report on their understanding of
educational and schooling processes on the basis of theoretical and empirical studies, where many of these studies
are based on data from interviews and from questionnaires. Reports from research along action research lines are
much less frequent. The topics of the research reflect to a great extent what is going on in the schools. Research on
traditional didactics, philosophy of education, educational psychology and educational sociology appears in all the
Nordic countries, although the research that is done in Iceland is small-scale research and often carried out in other
countries by Icelandic researchers. Didactics of different subjects, curriculum studies, new technology and
education, democracy and education, education in early childhood, school management, school improvement,
evaluation in schools, education and society, historical perspectives on education and on schools are examples of
topics that have rallied numerous Nordic researchers during recent annual meetings.
Critical Research Tradition
Research on education linked to the processes of schooling is mainly done in universities or university-based
research centres. During recent decades researchers in the Nordic countries have been interested in critical
perspectives on the field of education. Inspired by the writings of Habermas and Ziehe, the thinking of parts of the
research body have been charac-

< previous page

page_34

next page >

< previous page

page_35

next page >


Page 35

terised by materialistically based analysis of the structures of society, dominant ideologies and socialisation in
relation to educational organisations and curricula. More sociologically inspired research (a long line of such
researchers includes Bauer & Borg, 1974, in Denmark and Gesser, 1976, in Sweden) clarified the functions of
schools in a capitalist country and found that the reproduction of societal patterns between classes was still quite
potent. Several studies have been carried out in this tradition during recent years. Repeated studies of the pattern of
differences between socioeconomic groups (for instance Arnman and Jnssons studies in Sweden of social
segregation) show that very few changes have occurred over the decades. Today the body of knowledge that the
critical school has developed since the fifties is embedded in a common language as a base for understanding the
present situation, but very little is done to attack the roots of the very stable patterns.
This line of research has in a way worked hand in hand with research on other social injustices like the inequality
between the sexes. This kind of 'misery research' (see for instance Bjerrum-Nielsen & Larsen, 1985) in gender
research and research about socio-economic patterns has been perceived as research with a somewhat pessimistic
tone. This research has mainly used research methods that have helped the researcher to understand and describe
the situation. A more optimistic line of research that came out of the same basic ideas on society and education,
based its actions on the assumption 'that a society characterised by social, economic and political tensions and
contradictions cannot determinate its institutions. In educational institutions there is the possibility of establishing
emancipatory pedagogic practice' (Reisby, 1991: 8).
Within the 'optimistic' group of researchers the Dane, Illeris (1981) used challenging and inspiring development
work on the theme of project work learning methods, also described as problem-oriented learning methods, as his
research tools. Illeris showed that alternative ways of organising time, students and teachers are possible in
ordinary school settings. In the project work method there is also strong emphasis placed on internal democracy.
Illeris (1973) participated as a researcher in the improvement of a teachers' college, where the early use of large
group democracy was studied intensively. Several other studies have followed in the same tradition where the
development of school improvement projects are described from the point of view of the participants (see e.g.
Bjerg, 1976; Skyum-Nielsen, 1985; Vasstrm, 1985; Ekholm, 1990). Like other studies in the same tradition, the
strong involvement of the researchers in the change process has led to de-emphasising data collection strategies.
The research examines the firsthand experience of an ongoing change and offers a critical analysis of the process
itself. The data reported in these studies usually is drawn from

< previous page

page_35

next page >

< previous page

page_36

next page >


Page 36

interviews and fieldnotes of observations in schools during a period of one or two years.
Action research strategies have been used in many fields other than school improvement. One of the most
important studies made by educational researchers was Trankell's (1973) study of the complex processes of one
local society. In Sweden, Gustafsson et al. (1985) have made an interesting study of the action research process
itself. Two groups of action researchers were studied and care was taken to note the way in which people at the
schools reacted to the strategies being used by each group. The primary data source was interviewing. One of the
groups began their action research by offering well structured work tasks to the teachers. In the early stages of this
process, the group used a rather formal kind of leadership. Agreements were made and steps were formalised. The
other group started from tasks that were less structured and the researchers employed an informal mode of
leadership. Analysis of the interviews showed that both strategies were successful, but only when they fitted the
culture of the local school. Where there was a lack of fit, only temporary results were achieved.
Constructive School Improvement Studies
Some Norwegian studies belong to the same action research tradition. Hgmo et al. (1981) were involved in the
creation of a curriculum and school organisation that fitted the local situation in an arctic area of Norway. They
describe the improvement process from the inside. Their studies have helped people in schools to understand how
schools have successfully dealt with the problem of alienation and low motivation of the students. Raaen (1984)
who evaluated this research approach describes how schools improved their organisational ethos as well as student
motivation by linking students to the working life of the local community. In Norway, Tjeldvoll (1982, 1986) has
described what happens when teachers share the responsibility for school leadership. He found that teachers
became more involved when they had the power to shape their work situation and when they were encouraged by
the school's organisational structure to cooperate with each other. Nielsen (1983) who has worked as a consultant
in many school improvement projects over the past twenty-five years, developed through participant observation a
diagnostic system designed to assess the 'maturation' of schools. He distinguishes six stages of system maturation.
The stages are:
(1) The status quo levelwhere the local school is not working well but is in a state of equilibrium and no one sees a
need for change.

< previous page

page_36

next page >

< previous page

page_37

next page >


Page 37

(2) Suspected disequilibriumwhere some people at the school see a need for change, but most do not.
(3) Discovered disequilibriumwhere most people at the school see that the status quo is not working and change
must take place.
(4) Accepted improvementwhere changes are proposed in the school and accepted.
(5) Institutionalised improvementwhere the mechanisms of initiation, implementation and evaluation of
improvement are built in at the local school.
(6) Self-renewingwhere the mechanisms mentioned under 5 above are built in and repeatedly used.
Longitudinal Studies
In Sweden several studies have been done of 'natural' school improvement processes. Lindblad (1982) has shown
that few of the original expectations of improvement and dissemination of improvement solutions have been
fulfilled. Sandstrm & Ekholm (1985) found more stability than change when they were studying three schools
intensively over four years. Ekholm et al. (1987) found that local schools only partially followed national
guidelines on improvements in management and curriculum when they studied 35 schools over five years. These
studies are examples of a strong tradition of longitudinal studies in Swedish educational research. These examples
are picked out from the field of school improvement research. There are many other longitudinal studies made in
this country on what happens to children who participate in different forms of day-care services (Andersson,
1985), or on the life development in the late 80s of people who were students in the early sixties (Hrnqvist, 1993)
just to cite some examples.
Curriculum Studies and its Satellites.
Nordic countries are used to national curricula. In Finland, Norway and Sweden national curricula have been
installed for a long time. In these countries, and especially in Sweden, there are groups of researchers that are
strong in the field of curriculum research, both on its theoretical side and on the more empirical side. In some of
the countries the researchers have been involved in committee work at the national level, which has disseminated
research results and ideas directly into the process of restructuring and reforming the different states. In some
cases, research has been conducted as a contribution to the work of state committees. There are numerous
examples of researchers who have contributed to the development of the school system through their studies by
being involved in

< previous page

page_37

next page >

< previous page

page_38

next page >


Page 38

committee work (Husn, 1984). One of the leading researchers in the field of curriculum studies was in 1991
recruited by the school administration at the state level as its general director.
As an outgrowth of the tradition of curriculum studies there are today numerous studies in the field of educational
evaluation. In Sweden there is a national evaluation project which has run from the end of the eighties that is
producing new knowledge about the results of the schooling efforts in that country. From the second round of
assessments of the outcomes of the Swedish school system more emphasis has been laid on finding explanations to
the outcomes of schooling in the local school culture (Krng, 1992). In Denmark as well as in Norway there is
also emphasis laid by the researchers on evaluating ongoing developments (Kruchov & Nrgaard, 1992; lvik,
1992). The evaluation research that has grown in the last decade has not only originated from curriculum research,
but also from research about school improvement and school effectiveness.
The interest among researchers who have studied the outcomes of schooling processes has never been limited to
academic results alone. Effects on the socialisation of young people has also been a focus for a long time. The
importance of what schools do for the elimination of gender stereotypes among young people (Scott Srenssen,
1991), for the development of self-esteem, independence and tolerance (Ekholm & Krng, 1993) are examples of
current foci in educational research.
Educational Psychology
The tradition of linking pedagogical questions to psychology is a strong one in the Nordic countries, and there are
several groups of researchers who continue this tradition. Psychometric research and measurements of
psychological structures and their dependence on educational inputs are analysed both by the use of quantitative
methods and more qualitative ones. The processes of learning is also a topic around which one of the most
influential research strategies that has appeared during the last decades in the Nordic scene has developed. Under
the name of phenomenography a particular mode of research has grown rapidly in recent years. In this research
tradition the researcher is mainly interested in understanding what kind of images or structures the learner
develops during an educational period. Marton's basic work within this field (Marton, 1970, 1981) showed that it
is important to make studies of the dynamics of learning in realistic settings. Marton and his core group of
researchers were based in Gothenburg in Sweden. They and their work have since moved to other universities in
Sweden and Finland and they have recruited followers from Iceland, Norway and Finland. Studies of learning in
educational situations

< previous page

page_38

next page >

< previous page

page_39

next page >


Page 39

have been made among small children, youth, university students as well as adult participants in educational
programmes and among teachers.
In phenomenographic research the strength lies in a better understanding of thoughts that people have held about
particular issues. The weakness of this research perspective is that the actions that people sometimes take on the
basis of their thoughts have not been investigated. This research perspective helps people working in schools to
diagnose the thoughts of others more effectively, but it does not contribute to their understanding of other kinds of
human activities.
Some Critical Remarks
When you take a quick glance at educational research in the Nordic countries there are some striking features that
could be mentioned here. A large amount of educational research is based on data collected either on small groups
with intensive interviews or on larger groups with routine questionnaires of somewhat varied quality. Few studies
have used experimental designs.
As a consequence of the fact that a lot of educational research is pursued in an academic context, many studies
have focused on research questions that are not highly relevant to the schools that could be the users of the
knowledge. Researchers of education have a tendency to present their research findings in written form to a closed
academic audience and do not present their findings so that those in schools can gain access to them. Nordic
researchers also have a tendency to write their texts for a national audience and seem reluctant to address the wider
academic world. Many of them do not publish very much in languages other than their own although the research
they do is as significant as that of other countries.
One of the reasons why these weaknesses still exist at the end of this century may well be found in the small
financial investment that is made in educational research in comparison to the costs of comprehensive and
secondary schools in the countries.
References
Andersson, B-E. (1985) Stress och std i frldrarrollen. FAST-projektet nr 38. Stockholm: HLS, Dept of
Education.
Bauer, M. and Borg, K. (1974) Den skjulte lreplan. Unge Pedagoger.
Bjerg, J. (ed.) (1976) Pedagogisk udviklingsarbejde. Principper og vilkar belyst ved Brovstprojektet 1970-1974.
Ringsted: Munksgaard.
Bjerrum-Nielsen, H. and Larsen, K. (1985) Piger og drenge i klasseoffentligheden. Oslo.

< previous page

page_39

next page >

< previous page

page_40

next page >


Page 40

Ekholm, M., Fransson, A. and Lander, R. (1987) Skolreformer och lokalt gensvar. Utvrdering av 35 grundskolor
genom upprepade lgesbedmningar 1980-1985. Gteborg: Dept of Education, University of Gteborg.
Ekholm, M. (1990) Utvecklingsarbete och elevstd i vidaregende skolor i Norden. Kbenhavn: NORD.
Illeris, K. (1973) Et deltagerstyrt undervisningsforlb. Storgruppeordningen pa Blaagaard Seminarium. Roskilde:
RUC.
Illeris, M. (1981) Modkvalificeringens pedagogik: problemorientering, deltagarstyrning og exemplarisk indlring.
Roskilde: RUC.
Gustafsson, B. et al. (1985) Den dolda lroplanen. Stockholm: Liber.
Husn, T. (1984) Research and policy-making in education: International perspective. Educational Researcher 13
(2), 5-11.
Hgmo, A., Solstad, K.J. and Tiller, T. (1981) Skolen og den lokale utfordring. Troms: University of Troms.
Kruchov, K. and Nrgaard, E. (1992) Skoleudvikling og pedagogisk praxis i den danske skole. Nordisk Pedagogik
12 (1), 13-21.
Krng, G. (1992) En nationell utvrdering av den svenska skolan. Nordisk Pedagogik 12 (4), 205-10.
Lindblad, S. (1982) Pedagogiska utvecklingsblock. Studier i enform av likalt pedagogiskt utvecklingsarbete.
Uppsala: Dept of Education, University of Uppsala.
Marton, F. (1970) Structural Dynamics of Learning (Gteborg Studies in Educational Sciences) Stockholm:
Almqvist och Wiksell.
(1981) Phenomenography: Describing conceptions in the world around us. Instructional Science 10, 177-200.
Nielsen, B. (1983) The external adviser's role in educational innovation. In Pedagogisk utviklingsarbeid og
skolelederens rolle (Report from a seminar of the European Forum on Educational Administration). Oslo:
Hurdalsjen. Forsksrdet.
Raaen, F.D. (1984) Skolen i nrmiljet. Erfaringer fra et skolutviklingsproject. Oslo: Forsksrdet and Det norske
samlaget.
Reisby, K. (1991) Educational research in Denmark: Status and perspectives. Nordisk Pedagogik 11 (1), 3-12.
Sandstrm, B. and Ekholm, M. (1985) Stabilitet ochfrndring i grundskolan. Stockholm: Liber.
Skyum-Nielsen, S. (1985) At lede skoler idagpa psykologisk grundlag. Veijle: Kroghs forlag.
Scott Srenssen, A. (1991) Studies of gender and education in Scandinavia: Results, problems and future
directions. Nordisk Pedagogik 11 (3), 147-56.
Tjeldvoll, A. (1982) Kollektiv skoleledelse. Situasjonsrapport. Oslo: University of Oslo and Fosksrdet.
(1986) The organization as a didactical 'frame factor'. In E. Wallin, M. Sderstrm and G. Berg (eds) Educational
Research and Theory II. Uppsala: Dept of Education, University of Uppsala.
Trankell, A. (1973) Kvarteret Flisan. Stockholm.
Vasstrm, U. (ed) (1985) Nordiska skolor i utveckling. Kbenhavn lvik: Nord.

< previous page

page_40

next page >

< previous page

page_41

next page >


Page 41

7
Educational Research in Romania
Cesar Birzea
One of the first measures of the new political authorities in Romania was the creation of the Institute of
Educational Sciences, in January 1990. It was obviously an appropriate act if we think of the disbanding of the
former institute in 1982 as a consequence of political intervention. Unlike the situation in other ex-communist
countries, the social sciences in Romania were regarded as so subversive that not only were the research and
training activities in the respective domains eliminated but even the terms psychology, pedagogy and sociology
were banished from official discourse.
Having this background, there is a great need for research and development in education. This need is enhanced by
the fact that it becomes more and more obvious that the problems of the transition period cannot be solved without
restructuring education and our human resources policy. With this perspective, a central institute of research and
development has been created, autonomous, although directly financed by the Ministry of Education. Through its
activities, the Institute of Educational Sciences seeks to:
assess the problems of the educational system;
develop studies useful to educational decision-makers;
participate in the preparation, development and implementation of educational reform in the areas of curriculum
development, evaluation, teaching practices, educational technologies, pre-service and in-service teacher training,
educational management and finance;
develop basic research in education sciences;
develop an educational database and educational statistics;
promote experiments on new teaching and learning methods in pilot schools;
stimulate teachers and public interest in educational changes;
disseminate results of educational research projects carried out in Romania as well as in other countries;

< previous page

page_41

next page >

< previous page

page_42

next page >


Page 42

participate in international research projects in the field of education (Council of Europe, IEA, UNESCO
Institute of Education, World Bank, etc.).
In fact, with the current decentralisation of the Ministry of Education, most of the tasks concerning the design,
experimentation and evaluation of the reform programme have been taken over by the Institute of Educational
Sciences (IES). This position lends the Institute a double advantage: financial support from the state budget and a
direct relationship with the decision-makers.
The IES has two kinds of relationships with policy-making: direct and indirect ones. In the first case, the results of
educational research are communicated directly as technical reports, laymen's reports or executive briefs. They
stress the decisions that are to be taken after the reaching of scientific conclusions and are addressed to the main
policy-making bodies, namely the Ministry of Education, the Parliamentary Committee for Education, the
government's offices, the school inspectorates, other ministries or departments of the government. It should be
noted that although financed by the Ministry of Education, educational research may also be used by other
departments and institutions.
Another form of this relationship is the direct participation of the researchers in the decision-making process. For
instance, almost the entire research staff worked directly with the Parliamentary Commission concerned with the
preparation of the new Education Act. Also committees have been created independent from the Ministry of
Education, their main concern being the change of curricula, school evaluation and educational technologies. The
members of these autonomous committees are administrators, researchers, textbook authors and curriculum
developers, university teaching staff, school inspectors and headteachers.
However, in spite of all these, the necessity for a wide range of expertise and of specialised know-how is not
always required by policy-makers. Accustomed to decisions taken by small groups of representatives of the
political power, the educational administration is not yet convinced of the usefulness of the long-term, expensive
and even sometimes uncomfortable involvement of educational research. Traditionally, within a closed social and
political system, research has been used particularly to justify post facto the high-level decisions. This leads to the
necessity of creating and stimulating the need for educational research as a characteristic of open societies.
The second type of relationship we have already mentioned is the indirect one. The results of research work are
disseminated through publications, formal and informal meetings, on radio and TV, articles published in the nonpedagogical press, seminars and workshops. Thus, in December 1990

< previous page

page_42

next page >

< previous page

page_43

next page >


Page 43

the Institute of Educational Sciences organised the first national colloquium on educational reform. Among the
participants there were representatives from all the institutions and departments interested in this issue (education,
culture, social work, economy, national defence, health, justice) as well as representatives of ethnic minorities,
trade unions, the press, the church and Parliament. The subject of this first national forum on educational reform
was the strategy to be adopted within the transition period. In December 1991 the same forum focused on human
resource policy in the context of a market economy. This year, again in December, the colloquium will analyse the
major problems of education in Romania. It is expected that a range of priorities for educational reform will be
established.
Generally speaking, based on our experience up to now, we could identify the following difficulties within our
relationship with the decision-makers:
(1) the language of science and that of decision-making are so different that it becomes necessary to adapt and
simplify the final communication; the ideal solution could be the training of enablers, 'brokers' or interpreters of
educational research;
(2) the motivation of both activities is very different: research work is oriented towards knowledge, whereas
decision-making prefers action with immediate application;
(3) the political and social conditions are also very different: policy-making depends on political influence and the
pressure of the voters whereas research work is relatively free, concerned only about the correctness of its
conclusions.
Some of these problems can also be found in Western countries and derive from the very nature of educational
research. As a colleague of ours, a director of an educational research institute of a Western country said: 'This is
not the moment for educational research'.
Obviously, the recent political changes in Central Europe have influenced the conditions of educational research
too: some of the specialised institutes have been abolished or new institutes have been created; persons and names
have changed, new projects and research fields have started; now it is openly accepted that science is free of
official ideology and of the interests of the government party. Generally, there are concerns about the reform and
so many problems to solve that it is expected that educational research will establish a new beginning.

< previous page

page_43

next page >

< previous page

page_44

next page >


Page 44

8
Educational Research in Slovenia
Darja Piciga and Cveta Razdevsek-Pucko
Organisation and Financing.
General
During the seventies and eighties, educational research was financed mainly through the republic communities for
research and education 1, a small part by other republic communities and by local communities. With political
changes and with the act of independence of Slovenia all self-managed community interests were incorporated into
corresponding ministry departments.
The Republic Community for Research has become part of the Ministry of Science and Technology and the
Republic Community for Education has become part of the Ministry of Education and Sport.
The educational research field is now financed mainly through the Ministry of Science and Technology and the
Ministry of Education and Sport, the latter subsidising only applied, evaluative and innovatory projects; a further
small part is provided by other ministries or by local authorities.
Research Field 'Education and Sport'
During the year 1992 the Ministry of Science and Technology organised a number of strategic conferences for
specific areas of research. The National Strategic Conference was also held with the goal of building the National
Research Programme. Strategic conferences were held to define the so-called research fields for each specific area
of research, after that each research field was asked to use the methodology of SWOT analysis (Comparative
analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) to help identify routes for its development. For the
area of education the research field named 'Education and Sport' was established and defined.

< previous page

page_44

next page >

< previous page

page_45

next page >


Page 45

This contains two relatively independent, but also connected, interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary research
areas. Inside the research field a lot of research areas can be defined (in the document 28 specific, narrow areas are
defined). The main aim of this field of development is the development of education and sport as areas of national
interest; the development of specific scientific disciplines inside this field and the development of practical
activities at the same time. One of the most important aims is also to obtain research data to enable international
comparisons.
Research Organisations
The majority of research institutions are located in Ljubljana, the capital of the Republic of Slovenia. Most
educational research work in Slovenia has traditionally been performed:
(1) By the Educational Research Institute at the University of Ljubljana (ERI). ERI is the central research
institution for educational research. The researchers from ERI are mainly full-time researchers, though some of
them are also part-time university teachers.
(2) Within the framework of individual university departments and faculties (Departments of Psychology and
Pedagogy at the Faculty of Philosophy in Ljubljana, the Faculties of Education in Ljubljana and Maribor, the
Faculty of Social Sciences and some departments of other faculties).
(3) By the Board of Education and Sport (formerly the Board of Education). In the past this institution used to
have the status of a research organisation as well. Following the structural and organisational changes in the
research area, it is no longer acknowledged as a research organisation by the Ministry of Science and Technology;
it can only participate in applied research, in innovatory and evaluative projects financed by the Ministry of
Science and Technology, or carry out projects financed by the Ministry of Education and Sport.
A smaller number of educational research studies are carried out by some other research organisations, including,
for example, the Counselling Centre for Children, Adolescents and Parents in Ljubljana, and the newly-founded
Andragogical Centre.
To have the status of a research organisation it is necessary to have confirmation from the Ministry of Science and
Technology. Among the criteria for this status the most important are the qualifications of the researchers and the
research equipment. In spite of the legal right for private research institutions (since 1992), there is still no private
research institution for the field of education.

< previous page

page_45

next page >

< previous page

page_46

next page >


Page 46

At the end of the 80s, when state regulation and control were loosened, a book on school-based research was
published. In Slovene schools (especially class-level in elementary schools) and in pre-school institutions 2 we can
observe substantial grass-roots developments, mostly in the directions suggested by the new conception of
education in the Republic of Slovenia. Teachers, parents and school authorities at different levels express great
willingness for testing and implementing changes with the aim of approaching European standards. This kind of
educational research work is mostly voluntary, only in some cases being partly funded by the Ministry of
Education or by local authorities. The school innovation work is still without legal regulation (an act to regulate
this is in preparation) so the danger of anarchy cannot be neglected.
Usually researchers gather data specially for the purpose of the research, sometimes they also use the data from the
main educational indicators which are regularly collected, especially on the achievement of students and their
progress through the system. These data are gathered through some national institutions, e.g. the Board of
Statistics or other governmental institutions. The system is now changing because of the introduction of a more
restrictive law about collecting personal data.
Characteristics of Current Research, Priorities and Perspectives
General
The National Research Programme which, in accordance with the government's guidelines for development, will
determine the focal points for future research and allocate the necessary funds for financing these projects, was
accepted in the Parliament of the Republic of Slovenia on June 24, 1993.
The Proposal for the National Research Programme, in conformity with government requirements, was drawn up
by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MST) in collaboration with the Council for Science and Technology
of the Republic of Slovenia.
The Orientations of the Research Field 'Education and Sport' in the Future.
The objectives of research in this field are as follows:
to ensure the conditions for the development of all specific scientific disciplines inside the field of education and
sport;
to foster an interdisciplinary approach in educational research;

< previous page

page_46

next page >

< previous page

page_47

next page >


Page 47

to foster research inside the area of education in the whole Slovene territory, including the education of Slovene
minorities abroad;
to foster those research projects which are of national interest and which could contribute to the development of
the whole system of education and sport;
to follow research findings in the world with all the required critical evaluation;
to foster research projects dealing with the problems of national identity;
to give priority to the projects with excellent methodology and with a team of internationally recognised
researchers;
to foster the formation of new teams of young researchers by including students within some of the phases of
research.
Transformation of the Educational System and Research Priorities
The changes brought about by Slovenia's newly-gained independence, the transition from one political and
economic system to anotherin addition to changes common to other European countriesall require a great deal of
systematic scientific and expert work on:
the new concept of the educational system and its components;
the national programme of education;
new legislation for all levels of education.
On the basis of previous discussions about the new concept of the Educational System in Slovenia the following
changes can be presumed:
Democratisation and diversification of the educational system including respect for individual differences, more
freedom in curriculum planning, decentralisation of educational responsibilities, establishment of alternative
schools etc. The expansion of private initiative, especially in the area of pre-primary education, is also expected.
Adaptation of curricula and methods to the future forms of manifold and unpredictable social, economic and
technological changes. The search for new approaches in teaching and learning and the endeavour to develop
abilities for autonomous decision-making based on sound judgement (and not merely reacting to in-coming
changes).
Extension of compulsory education to 10 years by commencing compulsory schooling one year earlier and by
introducing a one-year practically-oriented programme for those who do not enter secondary education.
More attention will be paid to children with special needs, including gifted children.

< previous page

page_47

next page >

< previous page

page_48

next page >


Page 48

With the implementation of a new structure of elementary education, work on the development of new curricula
is required.
The development of a flexible system of vocational education with extension into a system of vocationallyoriented colleges will parallel the existing university system.
New university legislation will encourage the diversification of post-secondary studies.
The creation of an efficient system of adult education will enable education to become a life-long process for the
majority of the population.
Enforcement of European standards of quality will be achieved by means of an external examination system.
One of the main aims of all these changes is to create a modern educational system, comparable with European
standards, and at the same time overcome one of the major problems with the present system (secondary and
tertiary education, and to a certain degree primary education), which is its low efficiency resulting in drop-outs,
repeating of grades, etc.
Relationships Between Educational Research, Policy and Practice
These relationships could be discussed at different levels:
the impact of research findings on everyday practice;
the impact of research findings on decisions concerning educational policy;
the attitudes of practitioners towards research findings.
The relationship between research and educational policy and practice could be described as the two sides of the
same coin:
some theoretical studies are carried out with very low or practically no impact on educational practice;
researchers themselves are not satisfied with such a situation and are complaining about educational practitioners
who are 'uninterested in research results';
the teachers, on the other hand, are complaining about not being sufficiently involved in the research and/or
about not being informed enough about research findings.
The gap between some research fields and practice is evident. This gap may be overcome with more active
cooperation between educational practitioners, researchers and the research institutions, especially with the aid of
action research. Some good examples of such cooperation are already noticeable in connection with a real
innovatory movement in schools. Several researchers from educational research institutions are involved in

< previous page

page_48

next page >

< previous page

page_49

next page >


Page 49

this movement, but it is becoming evident that there are not yet enough researchers available.
Educational Practice and Educational Research
It cannot be said that there is no impact of research findings on educational practice but at the same time it cannot
be said that all research findings have been implemented or even disseminated in everyday educational practice.
The transfer of research results can also take different forms. An important means of transferring research
findings is increasing the number of action research studies, where teachers themselves are taking a more active
part in the research and are at the same time implementing some new methods or new approaches which are the
subject of research interest. Quite a lot of small action research studies are being carried out within Slovenia. The
majority deal with elementary schools and are conducted by the Board of Education and Sport. School counsellors
(e.g. psychologists) are playing a very active role in this research. Many university members or researchers from
the Educational Research Institute are also involved.
With the academicisation and professionalisation of teacher education 3, attitudes towards research and research
findings have changed a lot. The teachers themselves are now better prepared to cooperate with researchers, to be
included in action research, to understand and to implement research findings. Teachers no longer feel in an
inferior role to researchers and cooperation with researchers can be established on the basis of partnership. Since
1987 all teachers have a four-year faculty education within university and the extension and depth of teacher
education in the direction of educational research methodology has contributed to closer connections between
educational research and educational practice.
Through action research a great number of innovations are being implemented in our primary schools (e.g. new
methods of teaching particular subject matter, introducing second teachers/assistant teachers into the first and
second year of primary schools, record keeping and the descriptive assessment of the children during the first two
years, integration of subjects taught at the primary level, introducing a foreign language at the primary level,
environmental education, etc.). A lot of teachers' workshops are taking place, and the teachers themselves are
presenting the results of their innovative work or the results of some action research projects. Another of the most
encouraging and promising examples is the TEMPUS project, where implementation is treated as part of the
project. Some action research is also pursued as part of in-service teacher training. This kind of connection

< previous page

page_49

next page >

< previous page

page_50

next page >


Page 50

between educational practice and educational research is the most frequent one at the primary level.
Curriculum design and innovation in secondary education is mostly carried out by the Board of Education and
Sport, in cooperation with experts from other institutions. Important innovative projects, related to secondary
education, include:
introduction of the SATIS programmean interdisciplinary approach to science teaching;
introduction of the subject area of Ethics and Society (to replace the subject 'Self-management and the
Foundations of Marxism').
As we have already mentioned, the developing system of in-service teacher training, carried out through the
financial support of the Ministry of Education and Sport, is one of the most effective ways of implementing
research results in everyday educational practice.
Another great contribution to better cooperation between educational research and educational practice is the inservice courses for headteachers, an increasing number of whom now have a degree from the School for Directors
and Principals of Educational Institutions. The programme of this school includes modules on methodology and
research in education. As previously mentioned, quite a number of headteachers and teachers are very interested in
and motivated to pursue changes in the school system. This willingness is also expressed in a great interest for
research work.
The developing system of postgraduate education for teachers should not be neglected as an important way of
connecting theory with practice and at the same time promoting education and educational research.
The results of educational research studies are regularly published in some popular, and in a number of
specialised, journals: Sodobna pedagogika (Contemporary Pedagogics), Vzgoja in izobrazevanje (Education),
Educa, Didacta and others. A group of scientists from the Educational Research Institute is editing The School
Field International Journal (in English). These journals have a substantial number of subscribers who are teachers,
who are thus simultaneously informed about research results and also about new developments in the theory of
education.
Educational Research and Educational Decision-Making
In the past the main decisions concerning education were politically justified and also implemented as a political
order. In the middle of the eighties the role of educational research began to change. That trend could be observed
especially through the changes of the system of secondary education. For more about this topic, see Piciga (in
press).

< previous page

page_50

next page >

< previous page

page_51

next page >


Page 51

In the area of secondary education a major reform was launched at the beginning of the eighties, following a
decision of the Yugoslav Communist Party. The 'tripartite' system (grammar school-technical school-vocational
school) was replaced by a single type of multipurpose, comprehensive, vocationally-oriented secondary school,
preparing students for individual jobs or groups of similar jobs at different levels of occupational proficiency.
Due to sharp criticism, especially from some educational researchers, a number of monitoring and evaluation
studies started in the year 1982. They were carried out by different research institutions, whose results indicated
several deficiencies in the newly introduced career-oriented education. Some of the results formed the basis for the
corrections of the secondary school system in the years 1986-87.
In continuation of this work, the project 'Further Development of Secondary Education in the Republic of
Slovenia' began in 1987, evaluating the renewed secondary school curricula. This second project, like the first
evaluation project, comprised empirical and rational evaluative studies of different segments of the secondary
school system, carried out by different institutions. A new type of studya comparative study of vocational
curriculawas also carried out; this was probably the first comparative study in the recent history of education in
Slovenia (Piciga, 1993).
The Impact of Research Findings on Educational Policy
Attempts have been made to correct the ineffectual practices of the past, and a considerable number of
comparative analyses have been commissioned by the present Ministry of Education with the aim of establishing a
system of research-based (rather than politically based) decisions in changing the educational system in Slovenia.
A further example of the recognition given to research by the present Ministry of Education and Sport is the
decision that in all cases where the results of comparative studies are ambiguous or where the differences among
research studies are critical, further research projects must be established to help with the decisions.
Of course this proposed relationship between educational policy and educational research is an ideal one. The
research approaches and results which are more in keeping with existing education policy are inevitably sometimes
more recognised whilst others are ignored.
International Cooperation.
In the past, cooperation with Eastern countries and especially with the republics inside former Yugoslavia
prevailed. These connections were the most important ones and therefore the most developed. During the eighties

< previous page

page_51

next page >

< previous page

page_52

next page >


Page 52

cooperation with European and other countries worldwide started to develop as well. With independence, the
Republic of Slovenia joined many international organisations and possibilities for international cooperation were
opened up. Cooperation with a number of international organisations and/or associations is now taking place,
including the Council of Europe, UNESCO, OECD and the European Community. At the moment the Republic of
Slovenia is involved in about 40 projects within the EC TEMPUS programme, some of them being specialised
educational ones. We must mention at least some of them, which are not only interesting, but also very important,
because of a direct and significant impact on educational practice:
Primary Science Development;
Early Learning of Second (Foreign) Language;
Improving University Teaching and Learning.
By joining the IEA (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement) in 1988, the
Educational Research Institute decided to repeat some recently performed studies and join those starting from 1989
onwards (COMPEDComputers in Education, RLReading Literacy, PREPRIMARY Studies, and TIMSSThird
International Mathematics and Science Study). The Educational Research Institute also participated in the second
International Assessment of Educational Progress (IAEP), coordinated by the Educational Testing Service,
Princeton, USA. In this, the mathematics and science performance of 9- and 13-year-olds was surveyed.
Slovene educational researchers are also taking an active part in various international organisations, and some
important international scientific meetings have already been organised in Slovenia. It is also the case that
researchers from abroad are directly joining the research teams for specific projects in Slovenia. Within its bilateral
and multilateral international cooperation, Slovenia also cooperates with a number of other prominent institutions
in the field of education development.
In conclusion it is possible to say that the Republic of Slovenia, one of the youngest European states, has a long
tradition in education in which teachers themselves were also researchers of educational practice. After 1948 (the
year of separation from the political impact of the Soviet Union) educational research began to take on
significance and to increase in quantity, publishing activity and popularity. One of the features of the past, and
partially of the present, research in the field of education is a vast range of empirically based quantitative studies.
The development of alternative research methods and instruments, however, has led to the expansion and
diversification of educational research studies and also to the publication

< previous page

page_52

next page >

< previous page

page_53

next page >


Page 53

of research findings. The new trends that can be observed or anticipated are especially:
from extensive 'national' quantitative studies to school-based action research;
from partial research findings to meta-analytical research;
from politically based educational changes to research-based and consensual decisions about the educational
system.
Compared to the history of education in the Republic of Slovenia, educational research is much younger, but
acknowledged as an important part of the national research programme and as an important aid in developing a
modern and democratic society.
Notes
1. Self-management communities of interest (samoupravne interesne skupnosti) were the associations formed by
working people directly or through their self-management organisations and communities, with the goal of
satisfying their personal and collective needs. According to the Constitution (of former Yugoslavia), the
assemblies of self-management communities of interest for education, science, culture, health and welfare were
authorised to decide, together and on equal terms with the assembly of the competent socio-political communities,
on all matters falling within these spheres. Despite this system of self-management there were, in reality, very few
decisions in the educational system and educational research which were accepted without the approval of the
Communist Party (at least until the late-eighties).
2. Compulsory education in Slovenia starts with a shorter school-preparatory programme at age 5-6.
Comprehensive elementary school, starting between age 6-7, lasts eight years and is divided into classroom level,
comparable to primary school (grade 1-4, mainly general classroom teaching) and subject level, comparable to
lower secondary school in some other European countries (grade 5-8, specific subject teaching). Secondary
education (comparable to upper secondary education in some European countries) comprises three types of
schools: two-three year vocational schools, four-year professional schools (e.g. technical and medical) and general
or academic secondary school (grammar school).
3. From the year 1987 all teachers (for compulsory education at classroom and subject level and for secondary
education) have a faculty four-year degree qualification, the pre-school teachers are the only exception with a twoyear course. In the year 1991/92 the first generation of teachers with four-year teacher education courses began
their work in schools. The first impression is that they have competent knowledge and the necessary skills for
teaching; the evaluation study is still being carried out.
Bibliography
Kozuh, B. (1992) Meta-analysis in pedagogic research. Sodobna pedagogika 43 (7-8), 369-78.

< previous page

page_53

next page >

< previous page

page_54

next page >


Page 54

Marentic-Pozarnik, B. (in press) Slovenia: The educational system. Manuscript prepared for Th. Husen and N.
Postlethwaite (eds) The International Encyclopedia of Education. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Piciga, D. (1992) New aims and goals of the Slovenian Primary and Lower Secondary School, DECS/Rech (92)
25. European Educational Workshop on 'Research into Secondary School Curricula'. Council for Cultural
Cooperation, Council of Europe, Valetta, Malta, 6-9 October 1992.
(1993) Information about the project 'Further Development of Secondary Education'. In Robert Stradling (ed.)
Research into Secondary Education., Heereweg, NL: Swets Publishing Service.
(in press) Secondary education in Slovenia. In D. Kallen (general coordinator) A Guide for Secondary Education.
Council of Europe, Council for Cultural Cooperation.
Razdevsek-Pucko, C. (in press) Teacher education in the Republic of Slovenia. A lecture within the Open Seminar
about Education in Central/Eastern Europe, University of Oslo, Institute for Educational Research, 27 October
1992.
Science in Slovenia, 1991 (1992) Ministry of Science and Technology, Ljubljana.
The Development of Education in the Republic of Slovenia 1990-1992 (1992) Ministry of Education and Sport,
Board of Education and Sport, prepared by Jelka Arh, Ljubljana.

< previous page

page_54

next page >

< previous page

page_55

next page >


Page 55

9
Educational Research in Spain
Carlos Marcelo
A Background to Educational Research
The eighties was a period of immense change in Spain. These changes were, and continue to be, economic,
political, social, cultural and, of course, educational. In 1984, the Spanish Parliament approved a Law for the
Reform of the University. This law introduced a new organisation in our universities and produced the regrouping
of many university teachers into new departments. These departments were more coherent, corresponding to actual
fields of knowledge and research. Consequently, the department was established as the main 'unit' for teaching and
research at the university level.
In the field of education, departments were created in the following knowledge areas: Didactics and School
Organisation; Research Methods and Diagnosis in Education; Theory and History of Education; Educational
Psychology; Didactics in specific subject areasLanguage, Science, Maths, Physical Education, etc. (these latter are
departments of the Schools of Education).
This means that research in Spain, as in many other countries, is organised around the university department and
this functions as a democratic unit, whose Head is elected by the teachers and the students. Each department
organises its line of research around doctoral programmes, and doctoral dissertations, usually self-funded, are one
of the main contributions to the educational research effort in Spain.
The eighties were also very important for Spanish university researchers because of the growing possibilities of
creating and developing contacts with many other educational researchers in Europe and in America. In 1986 we
became a member of the European Community, and we began to have closer relationships with educational
researchers of other European countries.

< previous page

page_55

next page >

< previous page

page_56

next page >


Page 56

Lastly, because of the Constitution of 1977, Spain is politically organised in Autonomies that have contributed to
decentralising many of the resources and decision-making processes, especially in the education area. At the
present time there is also further educational reform in progress in Spain that is now influencing, and is going to
influence very deeply in the near future, the kind of research that is being done.
In line with the educational reform, there is a move towards curriculum decentralisation. Up until now the
curriculum has been very centralised in Spain and was imposed by the central educational authorities. Now it is the
teachers in each school who can decide the goals, content and specific teaching strategies for the students in their
schools, starting from a national curriculum devised by the National Ministry of Education and by some Regional
Education Authorities. This project of educational reform also introduced the need for mainstreaming children
with special needs. The defended model of curriculum is a participative one, in which the learning is built starting
from what the student already knows. The teacher will not be a mere transmitter of information but a person who
makes the process of learning easier. The content of this kind of education will be knowledge, but also skills,
attitudes and values.
Turning again to the topic of the organisation of research in Spain, as well as university departments, there are also
Institutes of Educational Sciences in each university, whose function, among others, is to develop educational
research. The reality now is that these Institutes do not have sufficient funding to manage educational research,
especially as they depend on the university budget.
Teachers' Centres are also just beginning to get involved in educational research. This is very much applied and
practical research, usually involving action research projects.
Major Professional Organisations for Educational Researchers
There are, in Spain, several associations that function as networks for Spanish educational researchers. One of the
most popular is the Spanish Society of Pedagogy, which holds a congress every four years and publishes a journal
entitled Bordn. This society is the only one in Spain that brings together educational researchers from very
different areas, approaches, paradigms, and philosophy.
There is also an Inter-university Association on Experimental Research in Education that publishes a journal
(Revista de Investigacin Educativa) and hosts a conference each year. There are, on the other hand, small groups
of

< previous page

page_56

next page >

< previous page

page_57

next page >


Page 57

researchers working in more specific fields of research: Special Education; School Organisation and Management;
Teacher Thinking and Teacher Education.
How is Educational Research Funded in Spain?
There is an important question for Spanish educational researchers, and perhaps for others too. The question is:
How do I obtain funds for doing research? The answer is sometimes very frustrating, because there are not many
opportunities for funding apart from the national agencies. But this is a half truth, because it depends very much on
the researcher and the region in which they live. There are, in Spain, Central Educational Agencies and four
Regional Educational Agencies (Andalucia, Basque Country, Catalonia, and Galicia).
There are two national agencies that fund educational research. The most important is the Centre for Research,
Documentation, and Evaluation in Education. This Centre has been funding educational research since 1979. Table
9.1 shows the number of research projects funded by this Centre, and the amount invested in educational research
since 1987. As you can see, in the last two years the budget for educational research has grown substantially and
the number of projects funded is slightly lower than before. Much of the research done in Spain between 1987 and
1990 had to do with
Table 9.1 National funds for educational research in
Spain
(a) National Centre for Research, Documentation and
Evaluation in Education
Period
Number of research projects funded
1975-78 96
1979-82 95
1983-86 140
1987-90 134
Years
Amount ()
1987
1,441,500
1988
1,469,400
1989
1,558,300
1990
2,538,183
1991
2,838,880
(b) National Plan for Scientific Research and
Technological Development
13 projects funded between 1987-89. Very few
projects on education.

< previous page

page_57

next page >

< previous page

page_58

next page >


Page 58

assessment and the evaluation of student achievement. This was due to the evaluation of pilot experiences involved
in the new educational reform.
The second National Agency that funds educational research is the National Plan for Scientific Research and
Technological Development that funded just 13 projects on educational research in the period 1987-89.
There are in Spain some autonomous regions (Andalucia, Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia) that have their
own particular policy for educational research. Consequently, educational research funding is different depending
on the region. In Andalucia, where I live and work, the Regional Government funds 'Research Groups' composed
of university teachers at the same or different university departments. The purpose is to provide funding to create
'lines of research' instead of specific projects. The research activities that are commonly funded include:
grants for training young researchers in foreign universities;
grants for attending and participating in conferences in Spain or abroad;
grants for short visits to research centres;
grants for organising conferences;
grants for inviting international researchers to visit and exchange experiences in Andalucian universities;
grants for projects necessarily done in cooperation between university researchers and elementary or secondary
school teachers, or with change facilitators working in Teachers' Centres;
grants for funding the regular work of the Research Groups.
This policy is actually producing, step by step, a growing network of researchers who are learning, exchanging and
cooperating with international centres and researchers in other countries.
Lastly, there are, in Spain, other agencies such as the Spanish-US Joint Committee for Cultural and Educational
Cooperation, Research in Cooperation with NATO countries, the Blind Spanish Association, which also fund
educational research activity.
Current Priorities on Educational Research in Spain
As mentioned earlier, the major topics for funding educational research are related mostly to the actual educational
reform in progress. More specifically, projects involve:
developing and evaluating curriculum materials for the new educational system, particularly curriculum
materials easily accessible to teachers and adaptable to their use;

< previous page

page_58

next page >

< previous page

page_59

next page >


Page 59

teacher developmenthow teachers might be trained for their new roles, including new approaches to teacher
education such as school-based teacher development;
school evaluation, there being no tradition in Spain of educational evaluation up until now;
evaluating staff development;
teacher burnout and stress;
teacher evaluation, which does not currently exist in Spain;
pupil assessment;
training in leadershipschool principals in Spain are elected, and this fact results in a need for specific training for
those teachers who are elected;
educational change facilitatorsthis is a new role introduced into the educational system whose function, as in
other countries, is to help teachers and the school to develop both the curriculum and the necessary teacher
expertise;
co-education and non-sexist education;
diagnosing and catering for ethnic differences in education, particularly with respect to gypsies and people from
Morocco and the North of Africa;
adult educationthis is particularly important in Andalucia because of high levels of adult illiteracy;
educational technology.
This is a short overview of how educational research is organised in Spain.

< previous page

page_59

next page >

< previous page

page_60

next page >


Page 60

10
Educational Research in the United Kingdom
Michael Bassey
BERA and Other Educational Research Organisations in the UK
The major organisation for educational research in the United Kingdom is the British Educational Research
Association (BERA). It was formed in 1974 with the 'broad aim of encouraging the pursuit of educational research
and its applications for the improvement of educational practice and the general benefit of the community'. The
Association has about 600 members, most of whom are university or college lecturers, some are contract
researchers and a small proportion are school teachers.
BERA embraces all forms of educational research, as described later, and as a learned society is invited from time
to time to make submissions to government and national bodies on research issues. During the last two years
BERA has made submissions to the Economic and Social Research Council, the University Funding Council, the
Department for Education, and the National Commission on Education, and has published a set of ethical
guidelines for educational research. BERA is active in the UK Association of Learned Societies in the Social
Sciences.
The publications of BERA include: the British Educational Research Journal (5 issues per year of refereed
papers); BERA Dialogues (2 or 3 issues per year of refereed papers around a theme); BERA Research Intelligence
(quarterly newsletter giving substantial reports on BERA activities, announcements of educational research
meetings throughout the UK and of some international events, and some articles and book reviews).
At the end of each summer BERA organises a four-day residential conference which is the largest annual
gathering of educational researchers in the UK. Recent symposia topics have included action research, local
management of schools policy, school governors, national curriculum policy, assessment, school improvement,
teacher education, supply teaching,

< previous page

page_60

next page >

< previous page

page_61

next page >


Page 61

transition from school to work, library use, and the interface between qualitative and quantitative research.
In addition there are BERA regional meetings on a range of research themes, which recently have included oneday meetings on national curriculum assessment, change in classroom practice, race and gender, action research,
teacher education, teacher's professional knowledge, continuing education, city technology colleges, local
management of schools, writing for publication, and educational research ethics.
BERA sees educational research as attempts to advance educational knowledge and wisdom through systematic
enquiry and critical debate; it is governed by three ethical principles: respect for truth, respect for persons, and
respect for democratic values. Respect for truth means that falsehood is unacceptable, respect for persons means
that people should not be abused or exploited, and respect for democratic values means that researchers should be
free to enquire and to publish their findings, subject to the other two ethics. Also BERA takes a broad view of
educational research to include any disciplined enquiryempirical, reflective and creativewhich serves educational
judgements and decisions. This may be conducted in educational settings such as nursery, primary, secondary,
further, higher, continuing and adult education; industrial, commercial and professional training; and local and
national systems of education. The methods and techniques of inquiry may originate from a practical view of how
knowledge is best generated and utilised by teachers, educational policy makers and managers, or they may draw
on the methodologies of other social science disciplines, such as sociology, psychology, anthropology, philosophy,
or economics.
Other associations for educational research in the UK include: the Scottish Educational Research Association
(SERA), which embraces all forms of educational research in Scotland; the Classroom Action Research Network
(CARN), which is concerned with action research and has a national membership of teachers in schools, colleges
and universities; and the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE), which is concerned with policy and
practitioner research into higher education and has a national membership mainly of university teachers. In
addition a number of curriculum associations and specialist societies hold research conferences from time to time.
How Educational Research is Organised and Funded in the UK and Where it is Located
In the UK some educational research is carried out by research institutes such as the National Foundation for
Educational Research (NFER) and the

< previous page

page_61

next page >

< previous page

page_62

next page >


Page 62

Scottish Council for Research in Education (SCRE) and these are funded primarily by contracts with government
departments and charities.
However most educational research is carried out by university and college teachers in departments of
educationsometimes aided by researchers on contracts. There are nearly a 100 of these university and college
departments of education and they are spread geographically around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland. Most of the funding which supports their research endeavours comes directly from government and is
calculated by formulae. A small part of their funding comes from the Economic and Social Research Council
(estimated at 7% nationally) which is itself funded by government but independent from charities (such as
Leverhulme and Nuffield), and from government departments (such as Education, Health, Home Office and local
education authorities).
Until recently 44 of these departments of education (in the 'old' universities) were government-funded by historical
formulae in proportion to student numbers to carry out teaching and research, and most staff spent between one
third and one fifth of their time on research. The other 42 (the former polytechnics, now the 'new' universities, and
the colleges) were government-funded in proportion to student numbers to carry out teaching; those staff who did
research did so in the little time which they could spare from their teaching duties. Now, however the system has
changed the funding of research is based on research assessment. In 1992, 86 of these departments of education (in
common with departments in every other university research discipline) were assessed in terms of the excellence
of their research on a scale from 1 to 5. Departments scoring a '1' obtained no research funding, and those scoring
'2', '3', '4', or '5' received funds increasing in that order and calculated on the basis of the number of members of
staff active in research. The ratings totalled 12 at '5', 15 at '4', 25 at '3', 23 at '2' and 11 at '1'. The departments of
education gaining '5' were in the following institutions: London University Institute of Education, Exeter
University, Leeds University, Manchester University, Birmingham University, King's College London, Sheffield
University, Newcastle University, Open University, Bath University, Lancaster University and Edinburgh
University.
Who decides the research agendas for these researchers? As far as government contracts are concerned, of course,
it is the sponsors who determine what is to be done. With the Economic and Social Research Council, a partial
agenda is set by the research council, for example in terms of the research centre at Nottingham University on
'Instruction, Training and Learning' where the research question is 'How can new technology best be used to
promote effective learning?' and in terms of the research initia-

< previous page

page_62

next page >

< previous page

page_63

next page >


Page 63

tive on 'Innovation and Change in Education' where the research question is 'How will recent policy changes affect
the teaching and learning process?' In addition the research council makes available research grants for which
applicants devise their own agendas and their proposals are adjudicated by a rigorous process of peer review.
However the research council has recently published a list of priorities for research, as described below.
But the majority of educational researchers, working in departments of education in universities and colleges,
determine their own agendas for research, finding topics which their personal interests, circumstances and
resources enable them to tackle. Sometimes these agendas are subject to the agreement of their colleagues in
faculty research committees. In a recent critique arising from my involvement in the universities research
assessment exercise, I suggest that this setting of individual agendas leads to 'trivial pursuits' rather than
'significant insights' and argue that team approaches are likely to be much more productive than individual work
(Bassey, 1993).
Very little educational research is carried out directly by national or local government departments or governmentfunded bodies such as the National Curriculum Council and the School Examination and Assessment Council. In
most cases when this is required it is contracted out to university departments or to the research institutes
mentioned above.
An estimate made by the Centre for Higher Education Studies of the London University Institute of Education puts
the total funding from all sources of educational research in the UK for the academic year 1988/9 at about
16,000,000.
Current Research Priorities and Topics of Widespread Interest
BERA has not identified a list of general research priorities although some of its policy task groups have done
soe.g. the assessment group and the teacher education group. The agenda of BERA meetings, some of which are
listed above, clearly indicate topics of widespread interest.
Recently the Economic and Social Research Council (1992) issued a report entitled Frameworks and Priorities for
Research in Education: Towards a Strategy for the ESRC. This identified eleven themes in four focus areas as
follows: Focus ILearning in Educational Settings: Communication and Learning; Learning in Specific Subject
Domains; New Technologies in Learning; and The Family Setting as a Learning Environment; Focus
IIManagement and Organisation in Educational Institutions: Performance and Accountability in Educational
Institutions; New Organisational Forms,

< previous page

page_63

next page >

< previous page

page_64

next page >


Page 64

Democracy and Participation; and Cost-effectiveness, Finance and Productivity in Education; Focus IIIThe
Education and Training of 'Enabling' Professions; Focus IVInforming Policy Development: Education in the Inner
City; The Changing Face of Higher Education; Lifelong Education and Training.
However, as Elliott (1993) has pointed out, this report ignores the work on theory development, methodological
innovation and the utilisation of research by practitioners and policy makers, which has arisen from the action
research movement. During recent years in the UK there has been important work on school effectiveness,
constructivist learning theory, science and mathematical education, language (especially oracy), and assessment, to
name but five significant fields, but possibly the most outstanding success has been the way in which action
research has blossomed in schools and colleges across the country and created a powerful interface between
research and practice. Whereas not long ago the typical response of a teacher to research was either ignorance,
rejection or bewilderment, today it is much more likely to be a recognition that the methodology of action research
can be a useful approach to tackling classroom problems.
A valuable way of ascertaining what is happening in the UK in any particular field of research is to search the
British Education Index, which is published quarterly. A recent survey by LISE (the association of Librarians of
Institutes and Schools of Education in universities and colleges) has identified 276 periodicals published in the UK
which report on education issues. At least 30 of these are research journals with refereed papers. Major publishers
of research monographs include: Falmer, NFER-Nelson, Open University Press, and Routledge.
The Relationship Between Research and Policy and Practice
Education today in the UK is going through a maelstrom of change. The central government has taken charge of
education. In England and Wales a national curriculum for ages 5 to 16 has been introduced couched in terms of a
transmission theory of learning. Extensive summative testing of children at 7, 11, 14 and 16 is being introduced
with the publication of league tables to help parents select schools for their children to attend. Schools, colleges
and universities are being put onto a business footing, with an ethos of competition. Coursework assessment is
being reduced and replaced by more examination assessment. The regular appraisal of teachers is being introduced
and may be used as a basis for a merit-pay system. Teacher training is changing from being college-based to
school-based. The

< previous page

page_64

next page >

< previous page

page_65

next page >


Page 65

local education authorities are losing most of their powers. The size of classes is rising. Inspection of schools is
changing to become four-yearly, rigid, and non-supportive.
There is a consensus among educational researchers, practitioners and policy makers that the quality of education
in the UK needs to improve. The disturbing thing for the researchers is that few of the changes for the practitioners
which are being introduced by the policy makers are based on research findings. Furthermore there seems to be a
reluctance to subject these changes to rigorous and impartial evaluation. Change is being introduced on ideological
grounds rather than on the basis of empirical evidence that the innovation could be worthwhile. The prevalent
ideology is that of the political right and embraces the notions that competition and elitism, operating in a school
market where parents can determine and influence the schools to be attended by their children, will raise the
standards of education and thereby improve the wealth-creating potential of the nation. This is, of course, a simple
perspective, for as Ball (1990: 9) has pointed out, the policy-making process involves 'the messy realities of
influence, pressure, dogma, expediency, conflict, compromise, intransigence, resistance, error, opposition and
pragmatism'. Nevertheless not only has the need for research evidence often been ignored by the policy makers,
but the political right has engaged in a discourse of derision in which professional opinion is discounted, and
sometimes denigrated. Both Ball (1990) and Gipps (1993) have documented instances of this. Furthermore, these
government-induced changes are being wrought in a society where massive unintended changes are
happeningincreasing unemployment, increasing crime, decline in manufacturing industry, and change in family
life, to name but a few. There is a very substantial agenda for educational researchers!
Scotland has similar problems to those of England and Wales, but a different education system and the
relationships between researchers, teachers and government are closer, as is evident at meetings of the Scottish
Educational Research Association. The Research and Intelligence Unit of the Scottish Office Education
Department (a government department) not only commissions and sponsors educational research, but also
encourages the effective use of research findings by teachers and administrators by dissemination through
seminars, workshops and publicationsfor example the Interchange series of pamphlets. The Scottish Council for
Research in Education also actively disseminates not only the findings from its own projects (about 30 in progress
at a time), but the research results of others which are pertinent to Scottish schools.
The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), with about 40 projects in progress at a time, publishes
substantial reports and issues

< previous page

page_65

next page >

< previous page

page_66

next page >


Page 66

regular leaflets throughout the UK to schools, colleges, and universities in order to disseminate its research
findings.
As an attempt to focus research efforts on policy issues throughout the UK, BERA has established Policy Task
Groups. These are expected to organise the discussion, review, and critique of policy research; to encourage and
promote the dissemination of policy research; and to endeavour to provide opportunities for policy makers to be
appraised of research findings pertinent to their decisions. At present there are six policy task groups: National
Curriculum, Assessment, Local Management of Schools, Teacher Education, Adult and Continuing Education, and
Primary Education. Various publications and meetings have emanated from these groups and a substantial
submission was made to the National Commission on Education.
As noted above the action research movement has strengthened the links between practice and research and in
ways which come as a surprise to traditional researchers. It is the systematic and critical methods of analysing
classroom observation and conversation that have proved important to classroom teachers who seek to understand
and improve their classroom practice. The lengthy descriptions and attempted generalisations about classroom
practice that abound in the literature have largely been ignored. The old view that research first entails a detailed
literature search is rejected. Action research is seen as being about 'how do I improve this process of education
here?' (Whitehead & Lomax, 1987: 183). Many university departments are running action research courses for
teachers on a part-time basis and these, coupled with the meetings and publications of CARN (Classroom Action
Research Network) and other action research networks constitute a massive grass roots movement dedicated to
using research methods to improving practice.
European Collaboration.
BERA has expressed its interest in joining with other national educational research associations to form some kind
of European association of associations. If we can find a way of coming together which does not increase the
subscriptions of our members, nor the paperwork for officers, but which improves the flow of information across
national boundaries about methods of enquiry and wisdom from findings, this will be of great value to all.
Perhaps we should consider ways in which a regular selection of significant research articles from existing journals
could be translated into other European languages and published. Perhaps we could arrange for twinning between
research centres, across the language divides, so that mutual

< previous page

page_66

next page >

< previous page

page_67
Page 67

help could be given in the difficult task of translating papers. Perhaps we should actively seek funds to promote
European seminars on research methodology.
There can be no doubt that the national educational research communities of Europe have much to learn from each
other in the vital task of raising the quality, enhancing the credibility, and improving the impact of our work.
References
Ball, S. (1990) Politics and Policy-making in Education. London: Routledge.
Bassey, M. (1993) Educational Research in the Universities and Colleges of the United Kingdom: Significant
Insights or Trivial Pursuits? Conference of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada,
Ottawa, June 1993.
ESRC (1992) Frameworks and Priorities for Research in Education: Towards a Strategy for the ESRC. Swindon:
Economic and Social Research Council.
Elliott, J. (1993) A personal response. BERA Research Intelligence 46, 17-18.
Gipps, C.V. (1993) The profession of educational research. British Educational Research Journal 19 (1), 3-16.
Whitehead, J. and Lomax, P (1987) Action research and the politics of educational knowledge. British Educational
Research Journal 13 (2), 175-90.

< previous page

page_67