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IES Grant

Title: A Summer RCT Training Institute for Established Researchers
Center: NCER Year: 2013
Principal Investigator: Hedges, Larry Awardee: Northwestern University
Program: Methods Training for Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (9/01/2013-8/31/2016) Award Amount: $803,315
Type: Training Award Number: R305B130023

Co-Principal Investigator: Spyros Konstantopoulos

The purpose of this researcher training program is to increase the number of researchers with training in the planning, design, execution, and interpretation of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in education sciences necessary to carry out trials and increase the number who actually carry out RCTs in education. This training program will prepare current education researchers to plan, design, conduct, and interpret randomized control trials (RCTs). This program builds off of two former training programs: Proposal for an RCT Training Institute and RCT Training Institute.

Each year for 3 years, the program will train 30 practicing researchers (90 participants total) for 2 weeks in a residential summer training institute. Over the course of the 2 weeks, participants will cover multiple topics relevant to running and analyzing RCTs. Participants will receive 22 units of group instruction (i.e., a combination of lecture, discussion, and in-class exercises) and will engage in and additional 13 units of group work.

The goal of the group instruction units is to provide an overview of aspects of the design, planning, analysis, and interpretation of randomized trials in education. Although some of the material may be familiar to participants, this training will hone in on the elements that are most relevant to RCTs and will demonstrate how the material applies to RCTs. For example, participants will learn how to apply what they may already know about multilevel models to RCTs in ways that would allow them to adapt to complex cases (e.g., unbalanced randomized block designs or three level experiments).

The goal of the group work is to produce a realistic experience of planning a trial that incorporates realistic constraints of budget, human capital limitations within the research team, and limited time to prepare the proposal. During the group work units, approximately six participants with similar interests will collaborate on a proposal, similar to one that would fall into an IES Goal 3, Efficacy and Replication, research project. Participants will have access to the instructors and their assistants (e.g., advanced postdoctoral fellows) to assist during the group work as necessary. At the end of the 2 weeks, the groups will present their proposals to the full group for feedback.

** This project was submitted to and funded under Researcher and Policymaker Training Program in the Education Sciences in FY 2013.