What is a research in education for?

There is a growing dissatisfaction, on the part of public school administrative personnel, with researches that have been developed in the university. This article analyses the relations between the research and the educational practices, trying to show the diverse crossed influences present in them. Based on the writings of Charlot, Rayou, Dubet, Tardif and Zourhlal, the text examines how social actors incorporate and reinterpret through different forms the results of research in their conceptions about education and, also, how academic research is marked by disputes that arise in the broader dynamic of society. A critical commentary is made about the movement on behalf of "evidence-based policies and practices", tendency that has prospered among educational English speaking circles, defending an experimental model of research that, based in random samples, is considered as the only one able to offer dependable results for subsidize public education policies. The article suggests that the main question is not "what is research in education for?" which should be replaced by "how knowledge and opinions circulate between these two fields? It concludes emphasizing the fact that research is a human activity as any other, since universities and centres of research are part of the society. In that sense, the article points out the potential of an open dialogue between two ways of know and act: that of the inquiry and critical reflection and that of the professional and political action.


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