Year

1996

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

University of Wollongong - Centre for Research Policy

Abstract

The policy themes currently steering Australian higher education research practice, have given rise to an output-oriented, performance-based, quality appraisal framework that is oriented towards narrowly conceived accountability purposes. Because it is so narrowly conceived, this framework is both inadequate for quality appraisal purposes and insufficient for legitimating and rewarding research practice. The thesis argues that with this appraisal framework, both the physical and cognitive infrastructures that sustain research activity are being put at risk. This is because performance-based measures cannot recognise or reward the processes that secure, sustain and renew flexibility and responsiveness in research pursuits. The thesis proposes that process-oriented indicators based on effective action for research, could provide an alternative but complementary appraisal option for legitimation and reward of the full range of activities involved in quality research practice. However, a quality appraisal tool that could accommodate the full range of activity for research would necessarily have to incorporate processes for making explicit what it is that researchers experience as effective action for research. In developing such a tool, this thesis contributes towards the provision of an alternative theoretical and methodological framework for quality appraisal practices that are congruent with, and grounded in, effective action for research.

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