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On promoting rigour in educational research: the example of the RAE

Stronach, Ian (2007) On promoting rigour in educational research: the example of the RAE. Journal of education policy, 22 (3). pp. 343-352. ISSN 02680939,14645106

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Abstract

This article offers a deconstruction of the RAE Education sub-panel's rubrics, drawing also on the broader RAE regulations, procedures, and associated documentation and research. It seeks to tease out the sorts of covert epistemologising that may (or may not) be likely to take place. The theoretical ambition is to take a Derridean approach to acts of 'translation', reworking that metaphor as a way into the acts of translation that the RAE undertakes in placing numerical values on the quality of research outputs. How do we measure our 'pounds of flesh'? As a practical 'hermeneutics of suspicion' it seeks a 'provocative validity' in that its aim is to provoke clarity and reassurance from the authors of such RAE documents. In that ambition it has had some success, as the response from Margaret Brown, Chair of the Education sub-panel, demonstrates.

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