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Pure and Applied Research and Pasteur’s Quadrant

Education research historically has been torn between the impulse to address real problems of schooling and the awareness that credibility of research hinges on its methodological rigor. This tension has yielded important benefits that are not sufficiently understood or celebrated (National Research Council [NRC], 2002). Techniques such as meta-analysis were developed originally by scholars working in education and now are tools in epidemiology, medicine, criminal justice, and other fields. Econometric models, longitudinal studies of mobility and stratification, correlational studies of achievement, causal inference models, and advances in measurement have been developed by researchers hoping to improve schools and schooling. This entry discusses attempts to distinguish between pure and applied science and considers the influence of Donald Stokes’s Pasteur’s Quadrant on current thinking about the distinction ...

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