Degrees of Democracy Framework: A Review of its Use and Impact

Project: Other

Project Details


The degrees of democracy framework (DoDF) was designed as an analytical research instrument that could also be used to facilitate reflection and dialogue by anyone concerned with education (school leaders, teachers, students, parents and others) and democratic leadership in any kind of organisation. The model of holistic democracy, as developed in work by Professor Philip Woods, is the foundation of the framework. Published work on holistic democracy and the DoDF includes: Woods, P. A. (2011) Transforming Education Policy: Shaping a Democratic Future, Bristol: Policy Press; Woods, P. A. and Woods, G. J. (2012) Degrees of School Democracy: A Holistic Framework, Journal of School Leadership, 22 (4): 707-732.

The purpose of this report is to
- provide insight into the impact and usefulness of the degrees of democracy framework (DoDF) (which emerged from research) for educational and professional development purposes
- stand as a record of the first 18 months of its use
- provide an information source for professional development providers, academics, practitioners (school leaders, teachers and others), policy makers and researchers
- make recommendations for further developing the framework and its use for educational and professional development purposes and for future research.

Layman's description

The degrees of democracy framework, based on the concept of holistic democracy, is a resource for reflection, research and action. This report reviews the framework's use and impact and makes recommendations for future development and action.

Key findings

Key conclusions include the following:
- The indicators of impact on participants’ understanding and practice are positive, but more evidence of the extent of impact on practice and its sustainability is needed.
- Using images has been a viable and productive way of engaging with the DoDF, and there is great potential to develop and expand the use of images and arts-based approaches to working with the framework.
- It would be beneficial to prepare a guide or handbook on the holistic democracy model and DoDF designed for facilitators of and participants in professional development and education sessions.
- There is scope for much valuable research on perceptions and interpretations of holistic democracy and patterns of response to working with the framework.
- Research into holistic well-being could usefully focus on connectedness and the relationship between sustainability and spirituality within this.
- Exploration of the holistic democracy model and the DoDF as innovations that challenge aspects of current policy trends would be fruitful in understanding how their potential for innovative change may be enhanced.
Effective start/end date1/07/11 → 31/01/13


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