The Role of Experimentation in STEM Education Research Projects

Investigator: Michael Martinez

Funding: National Science Foundation

This project considered the best possible role of randomized field trials in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education research projects. Three workshops-all held in the Washington DC area-directed the attention of scholars to addressing the benefits of randomization for large- and small-scale STEM education research, impediments to carrying out research designs that use randomization, and important ways in which randomization can be adapted to real-world logistical constraints of schools as well as local needs. The project's intellectual merits arose from the value of the workshops in presenting research designs that best yield actionable knowledge in STEM education. Broader impacts were seen through clarifying research processes that are most compatible with the practical realities of schools and school systems. Through the workshops, the distinctions, issues, and debates about experimentation and quasi-experimentation in STEM education were communicated to researchers and to the professional staff of funding agencies, including NSF.

The project was affiliated with the Math and Science Partnership Network. Workshop materials can be found at