What constitutes scientifically based research?
According to IES, a study is scientific if it has the following features:
- employs systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment;
- involves data analyses that are adequate to support the general findings;
- relies on measurements or observational methods that provide reliable data;
- makes claims of causal relationships only in random-assignment experiements or other designs (to the extent such designs substantially eliminate plausible competing explanations for obtained results.
According to IES, scientifically based research:
- ensures that studies and methods are presented in sufficient detail and clarity to allow for replication or, at a minimum, to offer the opportunity to build systematically on the findings of the research;
- obtains acceptance by a peer-reviewed journal or approval by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review; and
- uses research designs and methods appropriate to the research question posed.