Replicate and generalize across studies; and
Disclose research to encourage professional scrutiny and critique.
The principles are straightforward and are sound elements of scientific research in any discipline. However the challenge of conducting research that is responsive to these principles in education is somewhat daunting. The SERP proposal and research agenda provide the specifics with which to put flesh on these skeletal principles of quality research and consider how quality in education research might be effectively supported.
The significance of the questions we pose is heightened by the consistent focus in the agenda on the questions that define educational practice. A systematic approach to reviewing what is known and unknown regarding those questions in each domain of study draws attention to research questions that are critical from the perspective of improving teaching and learning.
But while significant questions in education research are many, the ability to investigate those questions empirically is more constrained. Understanding effective instructional practice, for example, requires access to classrooms in which that practice can be observed. It requires careful data collection regarding the many features relevant to instruction, as well as the many features of the students themselves that may affect instructional outcomes.
Challenges abound. Putting data collection systems in place requires a substantial up-front investment. That investment may make little sense when a school or school district is participating in an individual study. Only in rare circumstances will the benefit to the researcher and that to the school warrant the cost. However, if a SERP organization and research program is in place, schools and school districts that function as field sites