QE Workshop Goals and Overview

This workshop aims to improve the quality of quasi-experimental (QE) research that takes place in education. To this end, the workshop will be oriented to the strongest quasi-experimental designs for which there is independent evidence of their validity or very strong presumptions thereof. While these are designs and statistical approaches being increasingly used in education, they are still not common. So the workshop will deal with taking advantage of the conditions that facilitate their use.

However, the workshop will deal just as extensively with the most commonly used design in education, the one having two or more non-equivalent groups and a pretest and post-test measure from each. Relying on recent research on the conditions under which experiments and quasi-experiments of this form give the same answer, we will detail the ways in which this design should be implemented and analyzed to achieve the best approximation to experimental results. We will also examine the ways in which the design can be improved by simple and feasible add-ons so as to identify the conditions under which the design should not be used.

Research Examples

Throughout the workshop we will use numerous examples, all from education. Before attending the workshop, attendees will be sent a book of these articles in case they want to read it. We expect the articles to make more sense after the workshop, though, and trust that the book will remain a reference source long after the workshop is over. There is no formal text, but attendees might do well to have a copy of Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Design for Generalized Causal Inference (Shadish, Cook, and Campbell), Houghton-Mifflin, 2002.

Individual Consultations

Since methods are best learned with concrete examples, we encourage attendees to bring with them details of quasi-experimental projects or quasi-experimental theory issues they are working on. There will be opportunity for one-on-one time with the instructors.

We encourage this one-on-one interaction that is grounded in a specific quasi-experimental project or theoretical concern. We want to make time for this, not just because it is important to you, but also because we learn by learning about problems you have that are not amenable to obvious solutions. So please bring these issues to our attention. We anticipate being able to help you, and we know you will help us.