For nearly half a century, research on education systems has been increasingly popular. However, this popularity was long restricted primarily to internationally linked policy makers and education planners, often backed up by international organizations such the OECD but also by governmental or para-governmental organizations within the individual countries.
These institutional affiliations provided education research with a specific character that often centres on notions such as excellence, efficiency, or standards. The specific comparative character of this policy-driven research agenda triggered the development of suitable research techniques such as comparative statistics and pertinent sub-disciplines such as cognitive psychology. Backed-up by powerful global institutions, this agenda purported to be rather unique, and it tended to ignore the cultural complexity of the educational field and those research approaches that address this complexity.
This volume includes different historical, cultural, and sociological approaches to the education systems and to questions as to how research on education systems can be undertaken beyond the parameters of the existing research agenda. They demonstrate how pertinent problems of research on education systems can only be tackled taking an international and interdisciplinary approach with regard to both research questions and methods concerning education systems.