[RUME] In Defense of the NRC's "Scientific Research in Education'"

Richard Hake rrhake at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 26 23:05:22 EDT 2012

Some subscribers to RUME 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 <http://bit.ly/Vdj88z> 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 <http://bit.ly/VjrQaV>.

In response, Math Education Guru <http://bit.ly/SeJcCL> Clyde Greeno 
(2012) at <http://bit.ly/T64H49> 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 <http://bit.ly/axznvY>; (2) "A 
Developmental History of Physics Education Research" [Cummings (2011) 
at <http://bit.ly/TkBMOi>; (3) "The Impact of Concept Inventories On 
Physics Education and It's Relevance For Engineering Education" [Hake 
(2011a)] at <http://bit.ly/nmPY8F> (8.7 MB); and (4) and "Resource 
Letter ALIP-1: Active-Learning Instruction in Physics" [Meltzer & 
Thornton (2012)] at <http://bit.ly/O35gtB>.

To access the complete 46 kB post please click on <http://bit.ly/VtXvAV>.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles: <http://bit.ly/a6M5y0>
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs: <http://bit.ly/9nGd3M>
Academia: <http://bit.ly/a8ixxm>
Blog: <http://bit.ly/9yGsXh>
GooglePlus: <http://bit.ly/KwZ6mE>
Twitter: <http://bit.ly/juvd52>

"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 <http://bit.ly/> 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 
<http://bit.ly/VtXvAV>. 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 <http://bit.ly/R8zEVq> 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 <http://bit.ly/KMqgIx>.

Wood, W.B. & J.M. Gentile. 2003. "Teaching in a research context," 
Science 302: 1510; 28 November; online to subscribers at 
<http://bit.ly/9izfFz>. A summary is online to all at 

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