The Primer is intended not only to illuminate further some of the technical statistical and scientific concepts touched upon in these reports but, more importantly, to stand on its own as a useful reference for those who would like to gain a deeper understanding of education research methodology. In addition to providing a deeper understanding, we want the Primer to serve the real-world needs of those who want to incorporate the findings of research in policy decisions, and so the Primer includes some practical “tools” we hope will serve that purpose. We’ve also worked hard to make this online version of the Primer user-friendly and highly interactive, with innovative graphics and other features that take full advantage of the Web-based medium.
Ultimately, the success of the Primer in making very technical material more accessible is to be attributed to the exceptional efforts of its author, Patricia Lauer, Principal Researcher at McREL, and the guidance of our own Michael Allen, ECS Program Director. And we, of course, owe a debt of gratitude to the U.S. Department of Education for funding this publication.
We hope this Primer becomes a useful, even indispensable resource in the effort to increase the role of research in crafting education policy.