Citekey: @Southerland2014-vk

Southerland, S. A., Gadsden, V. L., & Herrington, C. D. (2014). Editors’ Introduction: What Should Count as Quality Education Research? Continuing the Discussion. Educational Researcher , 43(1), 7–8.



contribute to the bigger picture of scientific knowledge and theory on learning, instruction, and education systems. (IES, 2013b, p. 11) (p. 1)

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) formally addressed some of these issues in issuing “Standards for Reporting on Empirical Social Sciences Research in AERA Publications” in 2006, followed by issuing a second set of standards in 2009 focused on humanities-oriented research. (p. 1)

For this special section, we have invited five scholars to offer their views on this call for “scientific knowledge” in education and how scientific knowledge is understood and perhaps misun- derstood. (p. 1)

Phillips, a philosopher of education and social sci- ence, argues that all “competent inquiries” share basic features. He also draws our attention to the problematic nature of the term scientific and argues for a greater need for “ecological valid- ity” in our work. (p. 1)

They also point to the importance of understanding how policy decisions shape research that is conducted in education. Assessments of what constitutes rigor- ous research shape what policymakers choose to support, what educational researchers hold as valuable, and what educational practitioners choose to implement. (p. 1)

“the nature of research in the two areas is far more similar than researchers in either community recognize” (p. 12). Wieman, a physicist, suggests that cutting-edge science is often “much messier, complicated, and less precise” (p. 12) than is commonly acknowl- edged—and in this way, it bears remarkable similarities to edu- cation research. (p. 1)

report titled “Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development,” jointly released by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES; 2013a) and the National Science Foundation. (p. 1)

Education has always produced new ideas, new innovations, and new approaches, but only appropriate empirical evaluation can identify those that are in fact improvements. Taken together, work across the various goals [of the call for proposals] should not only yield information about the practical benefits and the effects of specific interventions on education outcomes but also (p. 1)

describes the problematic nature of what is often termed the “experimental model of science.” He suggests that this standard risks casting other research tradi- tions as deficit. Rudolph also notes that “methods of inquiry are highly contextual, contingent, and emergent over time” and that many may “fall outside the narrow band of those recognized as experimental. This fact, however, makes them no less scientific” (p. 16). (p. 2)

“Relevance to Practice as a Criterion of Rigor.” Drawing on their expertise from literacy education, learning sciences, and educational psy- chology, Gutiérrez and Penuel argue that if education research is to be meaningful—that is, if it is to allow us to understand sub- stantive and equitable change in education so that we can better organize conditions for learning—relevance to practice must be an explicit criterion of quality research. In their contribution to the conversation, these authors consider what this new criterion, “relevance to practice,” means for the conceptualization, design, and conduct of programs of education research. (p. 2)

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