Monday, November 30, 2015

EdD "Reading Policy Documents"

Got feedback on my 1st submission. It was ok, well written, de boop, de bap, but not critical enough. Which is probably fair comment. Also, I’d used titles relating to the now abandoned Common Core research. My tutor commented - when I told her I would be changing my proposal, - that she could tell from the submission that my heart wasn’t in it. 

So I’m going to rewrite that, and update the 2nd Submission before Wednesday this week. Then I have Thursday & Friday to do the 3rd one. 

I did a fair bit of reading last week, so I’m now almost caught up after my Common Core debacle. Before I begin writing in earnest tomorrow, though, I need to read (Scott, 2003), in particular the chapter on Policy documents, which are going to be important to this research. 

[NB1: this title is not available to me in Mendeley Desktop, where I usually highlight and note up texts, so I’ll be using more direct quotations here than I normally would. Also, I’m using (Scott 2003) as formative tool, I’m not critiquing it.]

(Scott, 2003) a policy with an apparently narrow focus may be attempting to beguile its readers into  focussing on technical matters, with the implication that the wider issues have already been decided, (p18). And policy docs always have an ideological underpinning, express or implied. EG for my research, the unstated belief that [new Scots] must learn English asap. Multiple authors mean texts are compromised. 

A text’s authors will make assumptions about their audience, and write to persuade accordingly. However, they could never be sure who the audience will be - eg, for my research, assume it’s going to be right wing media, but it will also include objective academics. Intertextuality or lack of it is important. A policy document without citations implies that truth of the matter lies wholly within the document itself, (p19). Multiple authorship can also lead to fragmentation, “unfinished arguments”. Note when text is actually coherent, how did it achieve that. 

[NB2: it occurs when reading about those involved in pluralist models of policy document construction, (p20), that my research is not in the mainstream of educational research, despite the fact that my specialism is language assessment, I’m in the field of migration policy.]   

Policy process should not be viewed as vertical. Instead, it’s “fragmented, nonlinear, contested and … a place where original intentions are rarely fulfilled in practice.”


Scott, D. (2003). Reading educational research and policy. London. Routledge.