According to many experts and scholars of higher education, nowadays the most important factor of inefficiency of higher education policymaking in Iran is nonconformity of policies and decisions with scientific, theoretical and research basics. Policy research is defined as a research process focused on providing policy options and referred to the practice of policymakers and can contribute to reasonable and rational policymaking in the field of higher education. Therefore, the purpose of this study was pathology of higher education policy research process in Iran. In order to achieve this objective, statistical population of study were institutions and research centers of policy research including those affiliated to the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology (such as Institute of Research and Planning in Higher Education (IRPHE), National Research Institute for Science Policy (NRISP), Institute for Social and Cultural Studies - ISCS) and those not affiliated to the Ministry, as well as informed policymakers in the field of higher education and 14 of them were chosen purposefully to carry out in-depth interviews. The validity of the findings was evaluated by methods of member checking and peer review. To analyze the data, open and axial coding was used. Results revealed the existence of 113 conceptual statements (subcategories) and 14 main categories in terms of five dimensions: contextual & environmental factors, structural factors, functional factors (related to Policy/decision makers in higher education and higher education policy researchers) and interactive & communicational factors which relations between them were drawn in the research model.
- Contextual damages of policy research were presented in three categories of culture, macrostructure and understanding of the humanities.
- Structural damages of policy research were presented in two categories of structural factors of policy making and policy research institutions and structural factors of information.
- Functional damages of policy makers and policy researchers were presented in four categories of attitudinal, occupational, research and educational factors.
- Communicational damages of policy research were presented in two categories of inconsistency between institutions and feedback.