This book explains the debates that bedevil education research - for example that it is low quality, or not scientific enough, or not useful enough - and shows how research in education must meet different demands in different places, times and conditions. A major part of the book provides detailed analyses and guidance to different areas in which educational research is judged - from academic theses to the press; from highest level competition for prestigious grants, to collaborative work with practitioners. In six different areas, it asks: who are the judges here? What expectations and networks do they bring to the task? What are the explicit and implicit criteria for good research in that area? What are the common failings? What does good research look like in that particular arena? The book is an indispensable companion to existing textbooks on research methodology, and a clear and provocative argument about the banalities and messiness in which educational researchers must operate.