Education needs to be based upon something. If it is not based upon research and evidence, then there are good chances it would run the risk of bring based upon dogmas, prejudice, biasedness, convenience, theory nor some other concept.
How much ever we dislike, we have to agree that education is a political football and can be used for many propaganda for the political purposes. But at the same time it has a very strong moral dimension attached to it and hence to follow dogma blindly would be not just wrong but perhaps even criminal. Education should primarily serve the purpose of liberating and equality of opportunity in a democracy.
Similar kind of serious drawbacks can be found in the concept of ideology which can be dangerous for an educational set up as it restricts choices and options to a great extent. Theories also come and go and it is not possible to operate a single theory, all in isolation. A lot of combining, testing and challenging of theories is required for complete adoption.
Research has the strength and capability to challenge all the above concepts. It helps and aids the teachers what works in which situation and what are the long and short term implications of these. Not only this, it would also provide a justification and rationale for each and every decision and create the capacity to deal with the unexpected and inform improvements, if and when possible.
The benefits of research in educational development are not just confined to education. Large studies on performance of pupils can aid largely in analysing trends and enable outcomes of education so that they can contribute in decision making for social and economic needs. The needs and vision of both the policy makers and practitioners differs. The policy makers need to have a look at the big picture so as it is able to take critical decisions and practitioners want to know why some techniques work and some do not. Thorough and well planned research helps both of them and since it has its foundation on concrete evidence, it can contribute more fruitfully in positive outcomes for a sector that is as crucial as education.