Source: (2008) International Journal of Research and Method in Education. 31(2): 99-111.

Restorative Practices (RPs) in schools developed out of growing interest in Restorative Justice in the community. Schools looking for strategies to address disaffection, behaviour difficulties and violence were attracted by the key ideas: the need to restore good relationships when there has been conflict or harm; and develop a school ethos, policies and procedures that reduce the possibilities of such conflict and harm. In 2004, the Scottish Executive funded a pilot project on RPs in three Councils, commissioning a team based at Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities to carry out a two-year evaluation in 18 pilot schools. The methods were negotiated throughout the research period with a range of stakeholders, including the funders, the Councils and key school personnel. This article will focus on some methodological questions arising from the evaluation, and on the issue of the relationship of the research to policy and practice development. The approach is seen to offer a useful model for the development and evaluation of educational practice and policy when applied with appropriate concern for the balance of methodological rigour with relevance and responsiveness to practice. (Authors abstract)