Scientific Culture and Educational Research

November 14, 2002

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires federal grantees to use their funds on evidence-based strategies. The law includes defi nitions of research quality, which are also featured prominently in the administration’s strategic plan and in draft language for the reauthorization of the U.S. Office of Educational Research and Improvement. These initiatives pose a rare opportunity and formidable challenge to the field: What are the most effective means of stimulating more and better scientific educational research? In this article, which draws on a recently released National Research Council report, the authors argue that the primary emphasis should be on nurturing and reinforcing a scientific culture of educational research. Although the article focuses on scientific research as an important form of educational scholarship, the call for building a stronger sense of research community applies broadly. Specifically, the authors argue that the development of a scientific culture rests with individual researchers, supported by leadership in their professional associations and a federal educational research agency.

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