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Improving Evaluations of R&D in STEM Education 2020 Summer Institute

July 20, 2020 - July 24, 2020


The 5-day Summer Training Institute will provide STEM education researchers with a broad introduction to contemporary evaluation methods that can be applied directly to their studies. In particular, the workshop will focus on small studies (e.g., 10 classrooms) in which large scale experimental methods are difficult to implement.

Topics will include:

  • An introduction to causal inference methods, confounding, and validity concerns in research
  • Methods for matching to control for selection bias
  • Pretest- posttest and difference in difference designs
  • Small field experiments and pilot study designs

Broader discussions of trade-offs, design sensitivity, effect size reporting, and questionable research practices (e.g., p-hacking) will also be included.

In addition to attending lectures, participants will take part in group projects, individual homework assignments, and an online community. This online community will continue after the workshop and will provide participants with ongoing resources for implementing these new methods into their research.

Principal Investigators Larry V. Hedges and Beth Tipton will lead the workshop.


July 20 – 24, 2020

Workshop Location

The Training Institute will be held at Northwestern University in Chicago. 


Inquiries about submission of the Improving
Evaluations of R&D in STEM Research
application materials:

Valerie Lyne
Telephone: 847-467-4001


Applicants should have experience conducting evaluations of STEM interventions in schools (though not necessarily using experiments) and previous coursework in basic statistics and research design.  Early career researchers and those from under-represented groups are encouraged to apply.  The workshop is open to faculty, researchers and advanced doctoral students at US institutions (US citizenship not required).

Selection Process

Preference will be given to individuals who (a) have demonstrated their ability to conduct independent research, (b) are currently employed in a setting in which conducting research relevant to education is part of their regular responsibilities, and (c) can demonstrate that they have a need for the knowledge and skills addressed in the Training Institute. 

Each application will be evaluated on its own merits. If more than 30 meritorious applications are received, other criteria such as disciplinary, geographical, and institutional diversity will be taken into account.


Northwestern University, with a grant from the National Science Foundation, will cover the cost of participation, including:

  • Travel to/from Chicago
  • The Institute and materials
  • Hotel for 6 nights
  • Per diem each day

Application Procedures

Please complete the online application form.  The application deadline is Monday, March 30, 2020.  Applications will be reviewed and applicants will be notified of placement via e-mail by Friday, May 1, 2020. 

* This workshop will focus on small studies (those typically funded by NSF, or in IES as “development” studies. Applicants interested in methods for large-scale field experiments (“efficacy” studies) would be better suited for the RCT workshop instead.