Date: Oct 26, 2012 11:04 PM
Author: Richard Hake
Subject: In Defense of the NRC's "Scientific Research in Education'"

Some subscribers to Math-Teach might be interested in a recent post 
"In Defense of the NRC's 'Scientific Research in Education' " [Hake
(2012)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: In my post "Is 'Education Research' 'Scientific Research'
? YES!" [Hake (2012)] at <> I listed the
*one-line headings* of the "six guiding principles that underlie all
scientific inquiry (including education research)" as set down in the
Executive Summary of the NRC's "Scientific Research in Education"
[Shavelson & Towne (2002)] at <>.

In response, Math Education Guru <> Clyde Greeno
(2012) at <> denounced the six principles as
"glibly superficial and badly unknowing about the nature of science,"
on the basis of their one-line headings, evidently not bothering to
scan the book "Scientific Research in Education" or even the
paragraph-long elaborations of the six principles in the Executive
Summary. In this post I juxtapose for each of NRC's six one-line
headings (a) Greeno's criticism, and (b) NRC's one-paragraph
elaboration, and invite readers to judge the validity of Greeno'
criticisms. Greeno ended his critique with: (a) "I am amazed that the
NRC would allow such a publication," and (b) "[The World is] more
than anxious to learn of whatever educational research efforts
qualify as being genuinely 'scientific.' "

Regarding (a) above, I am amazed that Greeno would denounce the NRC's
six guiding principles on the basis of what he (often mistakenly)
perceives them to mean from their one-line headings. Regarding (b)
above, he and other skeptics might consider scanning: (1)"The future
of physics education research: Intellectual challenges and practical
concerns" [Heron & Meltzer (2005)] at <>; (2) "A
Developmental History of Physics Education Research" [Cummings (2011)
at <>; (3) "The Impact of Concept Inventories On
Physics Education and It's Relevance For Engineering Education" [Hake
(2011a)] at <> (8.7 MB); and (4) and "Resource
Letter ALIP-1: Active-Learning Instruction in Physics" [Meltzer &
Thornton (2012)] at <>.

To access the complete 46 kB post please click on <>.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles: <>
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs: <>
Academia: <>
Blog: <>
GooglePlus: <>
Twitter: <>

"Education is not rocket science, it's much harder."
- George Nelson, astronaut, astrophysicist, and former
director of the AAAS
Project 2061, as quoted by Redish (1999)

"Physics educators have led the way in developing and using objective
tests to compare student learning gains in different types of
courses, and chemists, biologists, and others are now developing
similar instruments. These tests provide convincing evidence that
students assimilate new knowledge more effectively in courses
including active, inquiry-based, and collaborative learning, assisted
by information technology, than in traditional courses."
- Wood & Gentile (2003)

REFERENCES [All URL's shortened by <> and accessed on
26 Oct 2012.]
Hake, R.R. 2012. "In Defense of the NRC's 'Scientific Research in
Education' " online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at
<>. Post of 26 Oct 2012 17:04:49-0700 to AERA-L
and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being
transmitted to several discussion lists and are also on my blog
"Hake'sEdStuff" at <> with a provision for

Redish, E.F. 1999. "Millikan lecture 1998: building a science of
teaching physics," Am. J. Phys. 67(7): 562-573; online as a 258 kB
pdf at <>.

Wood, W.B. & J.M. Gentile. 2003. "Teaching in a research context,"
Science 302: 1510; 28 November; online to subscribers at
<>. A summary is online to all at