The Program Evaluation KnowledgeBase

Task 2: Understand Scientifically Based Research


Guideline: Scientifically based research is a of the cornerstone of the No Child Left Behind Act. Principals, teachers, and appropriate district staff members must have a handle on its application to their districts and schools as it plays a prominent role in program development. The resources provided offer background information on the subject.

Guide: Educational Practices Supported By Rigorous Evidence

This U.S. Department of Education guide offers "tools to educational practitioners that help distinguish practices supported by rigorous evidence from those that are not."

Alternate format: PDF

Principles of Scientific Inquiry

This document provides a summary of the basic principles of scientific inquiry laying the groundwork for its application in education. These principles offer a framework for educators to use in assessing education research.

Scientifically Based Research Defined

This document offers the definition of scientifically based research as defined in Title IX of the No Child Left Behind Act.

A Practitioner's Guide to SBR

The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement's website provides a compilation of resources on scientifically based research organized around the eleven components of the Comprehensive School Reform (CSR) Program.


Understanding Scientific-Based Research

The materials offered were developed by the National Clearinghouse for Comprehensive School Reform, staff from regional educational laboratories, and comprehensive school reform coordinators from select state education agencies. They address what researchers do, distinguish the levels of research, define research designs, suggest a review grid for assessing research projects, include a guide on writing effective research strategies, and offer a glossary of research terminology.

Evidence-Based Education

This link is to a presentation on evidence-based education presented at the U.S. Department of Education's October 2002 Student Achievement and School Accountability Conference: Using Title I Programs as a Model for Reform.

Element 1: Plan the Evaluation

Purpose: Planning how to conduct a program evaluation is the essessential the first step. The preparatory thinking involves understanding the program being evaluated, organizing an evaluation team, and determining how to conduct the evaluation. Element 1 outlines the pre-planning tasks.

Activity 1: Understand Evaluation

Activity 2: Organize Evaluation Team

Activity 3: Establish Evaluation Focus

Element 2: Implement the Evaluation

Purpose: Conducting the evaluation involves designing data collection so the analysis and interpretation will answer the questions the evaluation sets out to resolve. When developing and implementing the evaluation design be flexible to collect and analyze data from many perspectives. The collected data should be attentive to the evaluation questions. Element 2 outlines the tasks associated with implementing the evaluation.

Activity 1: Data Collection

Activity 2: Understanding the Data

Activity 3: Report the Results

Element 3: Use the Results

Purpose: The evaluation's findings and recommendation have limited value unless they are shared with the stakeholders and utilized to improve the evaluated program. Using the results to improve the evaluated program and communicating with constituencies are activities that occur in parallel. Element 3 outlines the tasks associated with using the results.

Activity 1: Communicate with Constituencies

Activity 2: Use Results to Improve