Australian Journal of Education

Article Title

Developing indicators for a new ERA: should we measure the policy impact of education research?


The Australian government has announced its intention to measure the quality of research in Australian universities under the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative. The process for measuring research quality through the ERA is still being developed but the government has proposed that 'a suite of indicators appropriate to difference disciplines' (Carr, 2008b) is likely to be used and is seeking public input through a consultation process. Using Weiss's (1979) seven models of research utilisation, and Husen's (1994) constraints on policy-makers, this article identifies the many ways in which education research influences policy. The author proposes that the uses of education research should be acknowledged in a research quality assessment process such as the ERA. If the policy influence of education research is not recognised under the new ERA, there is a risk that a narrow suite of indicators will be developed that does not capture the breadth and complexity of education research's impact on policy.