Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development

Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development


The Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development describes the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s and the U.S. Department of Education (ED)’s shared understandings of the roles of various types or “genres” of research in generating evidence about strategies and interventions for increasing student learning. These research types range from studies that generate the most fundamental understandings related to education and learning (for example, about brain activity), to research that examines associations between variables, iteratively designs and tests components of a strategy or intervention, or is designed to assess impact of a fully-developed intervention on an education-related outcome. More specifically, the document describes the agencies’ expectations for the purpose of each type of research, the empirical and/or theoretical justifications for different types of studies, types of project outcomes, and quality of evidence.

Fundamentally, these shared, cross-agency expectations are intended to (1) help organize and guide NSF’s and ED’s respective decisions about investments in education research and (2) clarify for potential grantees and peer reviewers the justifications for and evidence expected from each type of study, as well as relevant aspects of research design that would contribute to high-quality evidence. The primary audiences for this document are agency personnel, scientific investigators who seek funding from these agencies for education research projects, and those who serve as peer reviewers of proposals for scientific research.


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