Unit 5: Disseminating your research

R32: Conducting Research to Influence Policy Symposium

Date Time Venue Booking



‘Research to influence policy and practice’.

 In this session we will explore how research can impact on policy and practice, looking at the use of quantitative and qualitative evidence; the value of story telling; writing for different audiences; identifying partners and developing advocacy strategies.

 Speaker Bio: Professor Sir Alan Tuckett is a professor in the Institute of Education at the University of Wolverhampton, an honorary fellow of UNESCO’s Institute of Lifelong Learning and Distinguished Professor of the International Institute for Lifelong Learning, Delhi.  He is past president of the International Council for Adult Education, and led the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education from 1988-2011.



Have you ever wondered….who does higher education policy actually ‘work’ for? Connecting critical linguistic analysis with observations on cultural change

Professor Sarah Hayes, Education Observatory, FEHW

When it comes to Higher Education (HE) policy – is what is written actually inclusive or representative of the diversity of students and staff in universities? Drawing on excepts from her recent book The Labour of Words in Higher Education: Is it Time to Reoccupy Policy?, Professor Sarah Hayes takes a humorous approach in sharing details of her comprehensive linguistic analysis of UK HE policy documents. She will invite discussion on the political discourse surrounding phrases like: “the student experience”, “technology enhanced learning”, “student engagement” and “employability”. Inspired by the work of George Ritzer, on the McDonaldisation of Society, Sarah adopts the term McPolicy to describe a rational method of writing policy, now widespread across UK universities and disseminated through digital media. Strong levels of repetition and standardised statements begin to resemble any menu in a global catering chain. A similar logic to marketing a cappuccino or a gingerbread latte…seems to have been adopted by many HE institutions (Wonkhe, 2019). But it gets worse. At a time of widespread automation and concerns over loss of work, these policy texts also fail to reference the very students and staff who enact the academic labour processes described. Instead, via ‘nominalisation’, a strategy, buzz-phrase or framework, is routinely credited with this work. Even so, this is not a pessimistic account.

A critical appraisal can yield new and imaginative ways to resist oppressive trends that may otherwise go unnoticed. Debate is thus invited on ways to reoccupy McPolicy and to raise the volume and diversity of human voices in universities.


Speaker Bio:- Sarah Hayes is Professor of Higher Education Policy in the Education Observatory, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing, at University of Wolverhampton and a joint Unit of Assessment Coordinator for the Education submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Sarah is an Honorary Professor at Aston University and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA). Sarah has worked in Higher Education for 22 years, leading taught programmes in Sociology, Education and Computing, and undertaking research and supervision across these areas. Sarah is an Associate Editor for the Springer Journal: Postdigital Science and Education. She has edited several Special Issues and has published articles, books and chapters through a range of publishers. Sarah has also taught in Italy, Vietnam, India, Singapore, Muscat and Ghana, and has led and participated in a range of funded research projects and consultancy.



 Introduction to interpretive policy analysis

 Interpretive policy analysis (IPA) assumes that policies and policy processes do not address societal issues in a planned, rational and coherent way. IPA is an umbrella term, referring to phenomenological policy analysis, which analyses both the processes of policy production, and policies themselves, as meaning-making, and meaning-bearing process (Wagenaar 2011). Typically, IPA strongly emphasises qualitative research methods, such as standard or documentary ethnographies, discourse analysis, and/or narrative analysis. The emphasis is on understanding the highly contextualized socio-political conditions in which ‘policy’ is produced and practiced, or in which discourses and practices become ‘policy’ (Yanow and Schwartz-Shea 2014). In this regard IPA rests on the assumption that the societal issues that are addressed in policymaking have different meanings for different groups of people. Therefore, IPA gives insight into dimensions of knowledge, lived experience, and power that are often unobtainable in other approaches. This presentation provides a unique opportunity for researchers undertaking research on public policies from a range of disciplinary perspectives to come together and learn Interpretive Policy Analysis (IPA).


Wagenaar, H. (2011) Meaning in Action. Interpretation and Dialogue in Policy Analysis. New   York, M.E.Sharpe, Inc.

 Yanow, D. and P. Schwartz-Shea, Eds. (2014) Interpretation and method: Empirical research methods and the interpretive turn. M.E.Sharp.


Speaker Bio: Bozena was awarded MRes in Social Research Methods from the University of Aberdeen and a Ph.D. degree in Human Geography from Swansea University. She has conducted post-doctoral research at the Department of Social & Policy Sciences at the University of Bath, where she assessed the social and welfare rights of EU mobile citizens in policy and in practice in eight European countries. Currently she is a research fellow at the Institute for Community Research & Development (ICRD), at the University of Wolverhampton, where she explores experiences of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) across 14 local authorities in the West Midlands region.

Her theoretical interests are in understanding the social and policy dynamics of migrants’ experiences of inequality, working at the intersection of human geography, sociology and social policy. Empirically, her work has explored immigrants’ experiences of inclusion and exclusion, immigrants’ social security rights in policy and practice, and immigrants’ integration in policy and practice.


Vitae RDF descriptors addressed in this session are:

Knowledge and intellectual abilities (A)
This domain contains the knowledge and intellectual abilities needed to be able to carry out excellent research.

  • Knowledge base (A1)
  • Cognitive abilities (A2)

Engagement, influence and impact (D)
This domain contains the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage with, influence and impact on the academic, social, cultural and economic context.

  • Engagement and impact (D3)