because it gives them opportunities to extend their work in new ways that are just different enough to be interesting.
Principle 2: Population Coverage. Priority should be given to addressing important gaps in population coverage, such as certain age or language groups, for whom the applicability of current findings from a more limited population can be tested.
The great majority of existing research is geared toward the early elementary grades and English-language learners of Spanish background. This distribution is a fairly accurate reflection of the realities of student demographics. However, research efforts should not be driven purely by the present demographic distribution of the subject population, since the demographics of immigration frequently change. More generally, our quest for knowledge should be geared toward understanding processes specific to particular subpopulations, as well as those that apply across subpopulations. By testing theories in different populations, we are better able to gauge their generality.
Principle 3: Questions of Strong Interest to Particular Constituencies. Priority should be given to legitimate research questions that are of strong interest to particular constituencies, such as educators, policymakers, and the public at large.
The interests of multiple constituencies that are concerned about the education of English-language learners should be incorporated into the selection of priority areas for research. We do not imply here that questions ill suited for empirical inquiry should be included or that technical issues related to theory, methodology, data analysis, and interpretation should be decided by nonresearchers. Rather, we believe that research on questions of high interest to those most involved with programs for English-language learners would stand the best chance of having a practical impact. We also believe research that is owned by a diversity of constituencies and not just by the research community or advocates for a particular viewpoint would have the best chance to thrive with respect to public confidence and, ultimately, funding.
Principle 4: Research Capacity Building. Priority should be given to endeavors that would build the nation's capacity to conduct high-quality research on English-language learners and programs designed to serve their needs.
Successful research efforts, in addition to providing answers to complex problems, would help build confidence among constituencies and funders in language-minority research, and in education research more generally. Infrastructure