The short series of public lectures on "What works" draws on research evidence, championing randomized controlled trials, to inform decision making and practices in schools.


Lecture 1: Randomized controlled trials in educational research and practice

Seeking to improve schooling through research on ‘what works’ is positive. This lecture argues that the ‘what works’ agenda in schooling is problematic, and the research base on which it draws, which is almost exclusively randomized controlled trials, is questionable. The lecture raises challenges for the ‘what works’ agenda, and alerts educationists to limitations of randomized controlled trials in education. Whilst a case is made for randomized controlled trials in education, the promise of what they can ‘deliver’ is not as strong as their advocates suggest, and reasons for this are given.

Lecture 2: Replication studies in educational research and practice

Replication is a defining feature of ‘scientific’ research and demonstrating ‘what works’. Calls for replication studies in education, typically of randomized controlled trials, are strong though under represented in education. In particular, conceptual replications are widely promoted in securing ‘what works’. This lecture identifies significant challenges facing replication studies in education and it argues that what can be taken from them is considerably more limited than their advocates suggest.

Lecture 3: Getting research evidence in educational practice

Getting research evidence into educational practice is complex, far from straightforward, and a perennial challenge. This lecture suggests why this might be. Whilst calls for increasing the uptake, impact and outcomes of research evidence in schooling are made in the ‘what works’ agenda, and whilst many moves are made to encourage this, the uptake and impact of research evidence on teaching, learning, student outcomes and enhanced performance falls short of hopes and expectations. The lecture makes suggestions for improving this situation.


Keith Morrison is the author of 18 books on education, including: Taming Randomized Controlled Trials in Education; Research Methods in Education; Causation in Educational Research; and A Guide to Teaching Practice. He is the Co-editor of the international journal Educational Research and Publication.



Lecture 1: Thur, 5 November, 2020, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
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Lecture 2: Mon, 9 November, 2020, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
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Lecture 3: Tue, 17 November, 2020, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
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Location: Don Bosco Auditorium, University of Saint Joseph


Organised by: Domingos Lam Centre For Research in Education

Moderated by: Prof. Ana Correia