The aim of this paper is to contribute to a greater understanding of the role of evidence in the policy process. It does so through a retrospective analysis of an 'Independent Review' commissioned by the Welsh Assembly Government – the Review of Initial Teacher Training Provision in Wales. Over the last 5 years, the Welsh Assembly Government has commissioned a number of such reviews; their appeal to policy-makers, it is argued, is that they appear to understand outside the political process, giving policy advice based on rational evidence rather than ideology or sectional interest. However, through their retrospective account, the authors support Shulock's (1999) view that there is a paradox in policy analysis, arising from a mismatch between notions of how the policy process should work and its actual messy, uncertain, unstable and essentially political realities. To illustrate their argument, they focus on three 'moments' in their policy review – the setting up of the review; the way in which they attempted to engage the higher education sector in Wales in the review process; and, finally, how their recommendations were responded to. They conclude by arguing that all research is partial and policy-based research is no different. Facing up to those contradictions and tensions in the process is, they argue, an important step in assessing the real value of incorporating independent reviews of this sort within a modern democratic state.
How to Cite:
Furlong J. & Hagger H. & Furlong C., (2007) “Politics and Evidence-based Policy-making: the Review of Initial Teacher Training Provision in Wales”, Wales Journal of Education 14(1).