REAL Centre, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, UK
Pauline Rose, REAL Centre, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge
African education research is often ‘overlooked and undervalued’ in global policy debates (Maclure 2006). This paper reports on a project to catalogue education research from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) for the purpose of raising its visibility and strengthening the evidence base for national, regional and global policy and practice. The paper combines large-scale bibliometric analysis of education research outputs from 48 countries in SSA with a qualitative study of the priorities of African researchers and policy actors. The study highlights the perspectives of African research and researchers with respect to informing the Education Sustainable Development Goal. Attention is given to areas of convergence and tension between global policy agendas and African researchers’ priorities for knowledge production.
The quantitative analysis draws from structured searches of academic and grey literature databases, together with a process of expert consultation. The search sought to identify social science research outputs with implications for education policy and practice conducted by researchers in SSA over the period 2007-2017. Patterns and trends are identified regarding publication type, thematic foci, research methods, funding, and citations. The qualitative component derives from semi-structured interviews with African researchers and a range of non-academic stakeholders, including representatives of government agencies and NGOs. Thematic analysis was informed by previous studies of evidence use in education policy-making (Brown 2014).
The paper considers lessons for the identification of research topics, research design and dissemination to enhance the visibility of African research in national and global policy debates. It further aims to support future research partnerships to inform the SDGs which are grounded in African knowledge and expertise.
Brown, C., 2014. Advancing policy makers’ expertise in evidence-use: A new approach to enhancing the role research can have in aiding educational policy development. Journal of Educational Change 15, 19–36.
Maclure, R., 2006. No Longer Overlooked and Undervalued? The Evolving Dynamics of Endogenous Educational Research in Sub-Saharan Africa. Harvard Educational Review 76, 80–109.