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Eisenhart & Towne

Eisenhart, M., & Towne, L. (2003). Contestation and change in national policy on “scientifically based” education research. Educational Researcher, 32(7), 31-38.

Abstract by authors
In this article, we examine the definitions of “scientifically based research” in education that have appeared in recent national legislation and policy. These definitions, now written into law in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002, and the focus of the National Research Council’s 2002 publication, Scientific Research in Education, are being used to affect decisions about the future of education programs and the direction of education research. Perhaps because of the high stakes involved, there has been some tendency to lump together the definitions emanating from Washington sources. From our perspective as participants in some of this activity, we argue that there are important differences among these definitions and their purposes. Furthermore, we suggest that the various definitions, together with public input about them, can provide leverage for altering the meanings of scientifically based research and education research that are being operationalized in current public policy.