Evidence on Governance? Conceptual and Empirical Strategies in the Research on Governance in Education

During the last decades many European education systems have seen profound changes in the way they are governed, e.g. with respect to goals, resources, internal work organisation and performance. Concepts, such as “evidence-based policy”, “school-based management” or “quality evaluation”, have become popular terms in a comparatively short time-span and indicate policy strategies underpinning these changes. Both political rhetoric and actual change have rightly attracted increased attention of researchers; thus, we see a growing body of work on the “governance” of schooling and of other sectors of education.

In the lecture proposed, I plan to analyse some theoretical and conceptual strategies which have been recently used to come to grips with the logic of changes in the governance of schooling (see Altrichter/Bruesemeister/Wissinger 2007). In the second section, I will concentrate on discussing the empirical strategies of governance research; the leading questions will be: What types of evidence, what strategies of empirical research, what contexts of research are chosen when it comes to analyse the actual processes, conditions and effects of altered governance in education (see Altrichter/Maag Merki forthcoming)? The lecture will finish with some proposals for the further conceptual and empirical elaboration of research on governance in education.


  • Altrichter, H./Bruesemeister, T./Wissinger, J. (eds.): Educational Governance – Handlungskoordination und Steuerung im Bildungssystem. Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften: Wiesbaden 2007.
  • Altrichter, H./Maag Merki, K. (eds.): Ein neues Steuerungsmodell für das Schulwesen? Forschungsstrategien und Ergebnisse der schulischen Governance-Forschung. Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften: Wiesbaden (forthcoming).