Policy Knowledge and Lesson Drawing in Nordic School Reform in an Era of International Comparison (POLNET) 2018-2023

This research project employs comparative network analysis to explore how school reforms are formulated, developed and renewed by the production and use of policy knowledge and expertise within and across five Nordic countries.

Project Aims

The study examines whether and how policy makers and policy experts involved in reform making processes have “learnt” from experiences in other countries and how they have “translated” that knowledge into their own country with the intention of improving their national educational system. Notions of policy learning, borrowing or reception on one hand, and translation, local adaptation, or re-contextualization on the other, represent key concepts for the interpretive framework of the study.

The outcomes will enable both policy researchers and experts to:

  • Understand changes in the use of national, regional and international policy knowledge over the period 1988 – 2020 across five Nordic countries.
  • Determine shifts in references to systems and knowledge about “best practices” or “international standards”.
  • Trace how influential transnational policy shifts associated with key problems such as accountability and equity are interpreted and translated across contexts.
  • Contribute to foundational policy research on the nexus between local, national, and global policy.
  • Explore the application of network analysis as a methodological and analytical tool for understanding governance in an era of international comparison.

Principal Investigator

The project is lead by Associate Professor Kirsten Sivesind from University of Oslo

Finnish country team

Professor Jaakko Kauko (PI), Post-doctoral researcher Íris Santos and Doctoral researcher Saija Volmari

Recent publications

Evidence and Expertise in Nordic Education Policy: A Comparative Network Analysis

You can find more information on the project’s main site and on Twitter.