DIR, through an ED-IES contract, directed development of a new “how-to guide” for education researchers to more effectively approach, conduct, and communicate descriptive analysis.

DIR is pleased to announce that today (March 28, 2017) the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE) released a new research guide “Descriptive analysis in education: A guide for researchers”. This guide shows education researchers how to more effectively approach, conduct, and communicate quantitative descriptive analysis. The guide was prepared by a team of authors, led by Dr. Susanna Loeb of Stanford University, commissioned by DIR and funded through our Analytic Technical Assistance and Development (ATA&D) contract with the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education. DIR, with Dr. Russell Jackson, DIR’s president/CEO as project director, leads the team providing support to Regional Educational Labs and other National Center for Education Evaluation (NCEE) contractors for IES. The IES Newsflash announcing release of this new guide is below, and the full report is available HERE .

 

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New Guide Describes How to More Effectively Approach, Conduct, and Communicate Descriptive Analysis in Education Research

Whether the goal is to identify and describe trends and variation in populations, create new measures of key phenomena, or describe samples in studies aimed at identifying causal effects, description plays a critical role in the scientific process, particularly in education research. Descriptive analysis identifies patterns in data to answer questions about who, what, where, when, and to what extent these patterns are seen.

The Institute of Education Sciences released a new guide today (March 28) entitled Descriptive analysis in education: A guide for researchers. This guide from the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE) describes how to more effectively approach, conduct, and communicate quantitative descriptive analysis. The primary audience for this guide includes members of the research community who conduct and publish both descriptive and causal studies, although it could also be useful for policymakers and practitioners who are consumers of research findings.

Topics addressed in the guide include:

  • Why should anyone care about descriptive analysis? The important role that descriptive analysis plays in the scientific process and how quantitative descriptive analysis can stand on its own as a complete research product or be a component of causal research;
  • How to approach descriptive analysis: The iterative nature of the process of descriptive analysis, which begins with recognition of a socially meaningful phenomenon and advances through the identification of salient features, relevant constructs, and available measures;
  • How to conduct descriptive analysis: The specific components of descriptive analysis—research questions, constructs, measures, samples, and analysis methods; and
  • How to communicate descriptive analysis: The use of appropriate communication and data visualization methods to translate data into findings in a format that is useful for readers.

Read the guide here (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20174023/).

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the independent research, evaluation, and statistics arm of the U.S. Department of Education. For more information, visit the IES website or follow IES on Facebook and Twitter

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The Institute of Education Sciences, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the nation’s leading source for rigorous, independent education research, evaluation and statistics.

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