Education letter: Dangers of 'political' research

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Sir John Cassels (Education, 15 October) makes a sweeping condemnation of our article ("Publish and be doomed", Education, 8 October ) in which we made connections between two recent government-commissioned studies on educational research - the Tooley critique and the Institute for Employment Studies report - and the government's stated desire to focus the national educational research effort on what works best in schools.

The IES Report argues, on the basis of respondents' views, that policy should be informed by research (pp 42-3). The danger which we were attempting to point out is that "research", if too tightly controlled by government, can become a political tool in the implementing of that government's policy.

Mary Tasker and David Packham

University of Bath