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A Policymaker's Primer on Education Research: How To Understand, Evaluate and Use It


"Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the Primer was originally conceived by ECS as part of a larger project that seeks to improve the connection between research and policy and includes several reports on the state of research in education. The first of those reports has been now published as "Eight Questions on Teacher Preparation: What Does the Research Say?" and two others will follow. [Ed. Note: The second report, "Eight Questions on Teacher Recruitment and Retention: What does the Research Say?" was published in 2005.]

The Primer is intended not only to illuminate further some of the technical statistical and scientific concepts touched upon in these reports but, more importantly, to stand on its own as a useful reference for those who would like to gain a deeper understanding of education research methodology. In addition to providing a deeper understanding, we want the Primer to serve the real-world needs of those who want to incorporate the findings of research in policy decisions, and so the Primer includes some practical "tools" we hope will serve that purpose. We've also worked hard to make this online version of the Primer user-friendly and highly interactive, with innovative graphics and other features that take full advantage of the Web-based medium."