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Scientifically Based Research Defined

This KnowledgeBase archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.

As defined in Title IX of the No Child Left Behind Act, the term "scientifically based research" is defined as:

  • "(A) means research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs; and (B) includes research that:
    • (i) employs systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment
    • (ii) involves rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions drawn
    • (iii) relies on measurements or observational methods that provide reliable and valid data across evaluators and observers, across multiple measurements and observations and across studies by the same or different investigators
    • (iv) is evaluated using experimental or quasi-experimental designs in which individuals, entities, programs or activities are assigned to different conditions and with appropriate controls to evaluate the effects of the condition of interest, with a preference for random-assignment experiments or other designs to the extent that those designs contain within-condition or across-condition controls
    • (v) ensures that experimental studies are presented in sufficient detail and clarity to allow for replication or, at a minimum, offer the opportunity to build systematically on their findings
    • (vi) has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective and scientific review


No Child Left Behind Act, TITLE IX - GENERAL PROVISIONS, PART A SEC. 9101. DEFINITIONS U.S. Department of Education


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