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Evaluative research in Higher Education policy analysis

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Publication date10/2015
Host publicationTheory and Method in Higher Education Research
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd
Number of pages21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameTheory and Method in Higher Education Research
ISSN (Print)2056-3752


This chapter will focus on the use of evaluative research in higher education policy analysis. The approach will be illustrated by reference to higher education policy in Scottish higher education, with particular reference to the longitudinal evaluative research of support of teaching and learning (T&L) (the Quality Enhancement Framework or QEF). The chapter will discuss the features of the research process which are shaped by evaluation theory. We adopt a theoretical position on policy research which foregrounds the situated experience of policy as a core research focus. Policy is depicted as being underscored by an implicit theory of change which is used to structure and orientate the research focus. The design of the research is characterised by the involvement of potential users of the research output, with implications on the way in which findings are articulated, presented and ultimately used, along with aspects of the evaluative research design. The case study of the QEF will be contextualised, and the intersection between the design features and theoretical approaches, and the use and usability of research outputs, will be established.