Thomas D. Cook

Joan and Serepta Harrison Emeritus Professor of Ethics and Justice | Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Psychology, Education and Social Policy | IPR Fellow Emeritus


Thomas Cook is interested in social science research methodology, program evaluation, school reform, and contextual factors that influence adolescent development, particularly for urban minorities.

Cook has written or edited 10 books and published numerous articles and book chapters. He received the Myrdal Prize for Science from the Evaluation Research Society in 1982, the Donald Campbell Prize for Innovative Methodology from the Policy Sciences Organization in 1988, the Distinguished Scientist Award of Division 5 of the American Psychological Association in 1997, and the Sells Award for Lifetime Achievement, Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology in 2008, and the Rossi Award from the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management in 2012. Cook was chair of the board of the Russell Sage Foundation from 2006–08. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and was inducted as the Margaret Mead Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 2003. He was part of the congressionally appointed committee evaluating Title I (No Child Left Behind) from 2006–08.

Selected Publications

See Curriculum Vitae for downloadable copies of papers (pdf)

Wadhwa, M., and T. D. Cook. Forthcoming. The set of assumptions RCTs make and their implications for the role of such experiments in evidence-based child and adolescent development research. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development.

Matt, G., and T. D. Cook. 2019. Threats to the validity of generalized inferences from research syntheses. In H. Cooper, L. V. Hedges, and J. C. Valentine, eds. The Handbook of Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis, 3rd ed. 489–516. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Thomas, J., T. D. Cook, A. Klein, P. Starkey, and L. DeFlorio. 2018. The sequential scale-up of an evidence-based intervention: A case study. Evaluation Review 42(3):318–57.

Cook, T. D. 2018. Twenty-six assumptions that have to be met if single random assignment experiments are to warrant “gold standard” status: A Commentary on Deaton and Cartwright. Social Science & Medicine (1982)210: 37–40.

Tang, Y., and T. D. Cook. 2018. Statistical power for the comparative regression discontinuity design with a pretest no-treatment control function: Theory and evidence from the National Head Start Impact Study. Evaluation Review 42(1):71–110.

Kisbu-Sakarya, Y., T. D. Cook, Y. Tang, and M. Clark. 2018. Comparative regression discontinuity: A stress test with small samples. Evaluation Review 42(1):111–43. 

Chaplin, D. D., T. D. Cook, J. Zurovac, J. Coopersmith, M. Finucane, L. Vollmer, and R. Morris. 2018. The internal and external validity of the regression discontinuity design: A Meta-analysis of 15 within-study comparisons. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 37(2):403–29. 

Mark, M., V. Caracelli, M. McNall, and R. Miller. 2018. The oral history of evaluation: The professional development of Thomas D. Cook. American Journal of Evaluation 39(2):290–304.

Tang, Y., T. D. Cook, and Y. Kisbu-Sakarya. 2018. Statistical power for the comparative regression discontinuity design with a nonequivalent comparison group. Psychological Methods 23(1):150–68.

Benjamin, D., J. Berger, M. Johannesson, … T. D. Cook, et al. 2017. Redefine statistical significance. Nature Human Behavior 2: 6–10.

Tang, Y., T. D. Cook, Y. Kisbu-Sakarya, H. Hock, and H. Chiang. 2017. The comparative regression discontinuity (CRD) design: An overview and demonstration of its performance relative to basic RD and the randomized experiment. Advances in Econometrics 38:237–79.

St. Clair, T., K. Hallberg, and T. D. Cook. 2016. The validity and precision of the comparative time series designs: Three within-study comparisons. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics 41(3):269–99.

Cook, T. D. 2016. William Raymond Shadish, Jr.: Will Shadish’s intellectual accomplishments. American Journal of Evaluation 37(4):589–91.

Hallberg, K., T. D. Cook, P. Steiner, et al. 2016. Pretest measures of the study outcome and the elimination of selection bias: Evidence from three within-study comparisons. Prevention Science 1–10.