The influence of politics on research and implications for TESOL

Paul Throssell*, Jinjin Lu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Research is often utilised as being the basis for key areas of change in the world. These include knowledge development, the basis for changes in national governmental policies world-wide and (seemingly) the answer to world health problems. With research valued so highly it can be argued that researchers should have independence in carrying out their sacred mission: to question values and to contribute to knowledge. Consequently, research should not be influenced detrimentally by the politics of institutional or governmental decision makers. Research energy can be drained by research involvement that is =side-tracked' or deflected from a clear and transparent research focus towards the aims of those who seek to control research choices, activities and results for their own benefits. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) has increased in prominence throughout the world as English achieves increasing acceptance as the global language. Consequently, research into a wide range of aspects related to the improvement of teaching and learning is needed for the area to continue to be dynamic and open to ongoing change. This chapter critically examines differing levels of research activity and linkages to the influence of politics. The relationship between research and politics is complex and ever-changing. As a result of the shifting nature of the interaction there are elements of conflict and tension inherent in the relationship. However, politics acting in an unconstructive manner upon research can create tension and dissonance among researchers and research communities. It is suggested that the value of the research that is currently being encouraged within the hegemonic research community needs ongoing questioning. Intellectual curiosity in regard to seeking knowledge about learning is being restricted or even stifled leading to a need for a deeper understanding of how this is occurring. The response to the politics of research in a key area such as TESOL may restrict researchers to following discourses that may reduce the focus and quality of research undertaken relating to TESOL.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLinguistics and Language Education in New Horizons
Subtitle of host publicationThe Link between Theory, Research and Pedagogy
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781634828437
ISBN (Print)9781634828000
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Change
  • English as a global language
  • Equity
  • Learning
  • Politics
  • Research
  • Social change
  • Social justice
  • Tesol

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