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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Prof Carole Torgerson, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Visiting Chair, SFI, Copenhagen, Denmark

Professor in the School of Education

Contact Prof Carole Torgerson

Affiliate of the Durham University Evidence Centre for Education

Biography

After taking degrees in English Literature and Modern English Poetry from the Universities of York and Stirling, Carole Torgerson taught English in a wide variety of schools in England and Scotland. She undertook her doctorate in design issues in experimental research at the University of Sheffield before starting her academic career. She was Reader in Evidence-based Education at the University of York, before moving to The University of Birmingham as Professor of Experimental Design and then to Durham University where she is Professor of Education.

Carole was co-chair of the Campbell Collaboration Education Co-ordinating Group between 2006-9 and principal member of the United States Institutes of Education Sciences (IES) Reading and Writing and Science and Mathematics review panels, and a consultant methodologist to the IES on research design between 2006-13. She is the founder and co-organiser of the annual international Randomised Controlled Trials in the Social Sciences Conference, now in its thirteenth year.

Carole’s main teaching interests are: masters, doctoral and post-doctoral education and training in research design, methodology and methods in education and the social sciences; experimental research (randomised controlled trials RCTs and studies of quasi-experimental designs QEDs) and literature reviews; undergraduate teaching in research methods; rigorous evaluation design and methods in education and all areas of social policy.

Information for prospective doctoral research student supervisions

Carole is happy to discuss supervisions with prospective doctoral students in the following areas:

The use of systematic review, meta-analytic, experimental and quasi-experimental designs in any area of education; literacy; English education; music education.

Research Interests

Carole's main methodological research interests are in experimental design and research synthesis. Much of her funded research has been in evaluations using randomised controlled trial designs and systematic reviews and meta-analyses of experimental research. She has received awards from the Education Endowment Foundation, DfE, Home Office, ESRC, HEA, CfBT, HEFCE, NIHR, MRC, Sutton Trust and a range of other organisations.

Media/Knowledge translation and impact (policy and practice)

Carole Torgerson, Discussant: Gianluca Argentin and Gianpaolo Barbetto Gli effeti a breve termine delle Family Group Conferences sul benessere desli studenti at Dialoghi per il benessere a scuola: Il progetto Family StAR: un esperienza innovativa, Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano, Italia, October 17th 2018

Carole Torgerson and Dominic Wyse 'Grammar teaching in the national curriculum: has it failed the test?' TES 20th December 2017

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/grammar-teaching-national-curriculum-has-it-failed-test

Carole Torgerson 'Experiments in education: The key to tackling educational disadvantage?' in (Eds.) Claudia Wood and Ralph Scott 'Harnessing what works in eliminating educational disadvantage...', DEMOS, 2014

Carole Torgerson ‘Education research: Call for controls’ Letter, Science, September 2, 2011

Carole Torgerson ‘Perverse pay off’, Letter, New Scientist, April 30, 2011

Andrews, R., Torgerson, C., Low, G. And McGuinn, N. (2011) Teaching argument writing to 7-14 year olds, Better Evidence-based education: English, Winter 2011

Carole Torgerson ‘Reading on trial’, Letter, Telegraph, July 21, 2010

Brooks, G., Torgerson, C.J. and Hall, J. (2009) The use of phonics in the teaching of reading and spelling, Evidence-based policy briefs, Volume 3, June, 2009, NCS Pearson, Inc., US

See, BH, Torgerson, CJ and Andrews, R ‘Argumentation skills are underdeveloped in undergraduates, Point for Debate, THES, 1 June, 2007

Torgerson, C. Need for randomisation, BMJ, 2006 

Torgerson C.J. Initial formation of unbiased groups is most important issue in randomised controlled trials. British Medical Journal 2002;25:1155

Research Groups

School of Education

Research Projects

School of Education

  • A systematic review of the international literature on effective professional development interventions for groups of welfare professionals
  • DIY Evaluation Guide Version 3
  • EasyPeasy Evaluation
  • Evaluation of Calderdale : Improving writing quality, using SRSD and memorable experiences
  • Independent evaluation of SHINE on Manchester schools
  • Independent Evaluation Of The Maths Champions Programme
  • SHINE
  • Smoking prevention in young people: a cluster randomised controlled trial of implementation intentions
  • Teen Sleep Research Pilot
  • The research design basis for undergraduate quantitative methods (QM) teaching
  • Third Space Learning
  • Toolkit for Higher Education Access 2
  • Toolkit for Higher Education Access: A series of systematic reviews
  • Tutor Trust Project Evaluation
  • Writing Bundle: An evaluation of Grammar for Writing
  • Writing Bundle: Calderdale Excellence Partnership
  • Writing Bundle: Discover

Selected Publications

Authored book

  • Torgerson, D. & Torgerson, C. (2008). Designing and running randomised trials in health, education and the social sciences. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Chapter in book

  • Torgerson, C. & Torgerson, D. (2017). True experimental designs. In The BERA/SAGE Handbook of Educational Research. Wyse, D., Selwyn, N., Smith, E. & Suter, L.E SAGE publications Ltd., London.
  • Torgerson, C.J., Torgerson, D.J. & Brown, C.A. (2015). Randomized controlled trials. In Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation (fourth edition). Newcomer, K., Hatry, H. & Wholey, J. Jossey-Bass Wiley.
  • Torgerson, C., Hall, J. & Light, K. (2012). Systematic reviews. In Research Methods and Methodologies in Education. Arthur, J., Waring, M., Coe, R. & Hedges, L.V. Sage. 217-230.
  • Torgerson, C.J., Torgerson, D.J. & Brown, C.A. (2010). Randomized controlled trials and non-randomized designs. In Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation. Wholey, J. Wiley.
  • Andrews, R., Torgerson, C.J. & See, B.H. (2009). Discipline-specific skills in argumentation. In Argumentation in Higher Education: Improving Practice through Research. Andrews, R. Routledge/Falmer: New York.
  • Torgerson, C.J. & Torgerson, D.J. (2009). Randomized controlled trials in education research. In Education Science: A Critical Reader. St. Clair, R. Open University Press: Milton Keynes.

Journal Article

  • Conner, M., Grogan, S., West, R., Simms-Ellis, R., Scholtens, K., Sykes-Muskett, B., Cowap, L., Armitage, C. J., Meads, D., Schmitt, L., Torgerson, C. & Siddiqi, K. (2019). Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of repeated implementation intention formation on adolescent smoking initiation: A cluster randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 87(5): 422-432.
  • Younger, K., Gascoine, L., Menzies, V. & Torgerson, C. (2018). A systematic review of evidence on the effectiveness of interventions and strategies for widening participation in higher education. Journal of Further and Higher Education
  • Conner, M., Grogan, S., Simms-Ellis, R., Flett, K., Sykes-Muskett, B., Cowap, L., Lawton, R., Armitage, C.J., Meads, D., Torgerson, C., West, R. & Siddiqi, K. (2018). Do Electronic Cigarettes Increase Cigarette Smoking in UK Adolescents? Evidence from a 12-month Prospective Study. Tobacco Control 27(4): 365-372.
  • Torgerson, Carole, Brooks, Greg, Gascoine, Louise & Higgins, Steve (2018). Phonics: reading policy and the evidence of effectiveness from a systematic ‘tertiary’ review. Research Papers in Education
  • Styles, Ben & Torgerson, Carole (2018). Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in education research –methodological debates, questions, challenges. Educational Research 60(3): 255-264.
  • Mawn, L., Oliver, E.J., Akhtar, N., Bambra, C., Torgerson, C., Bridle, C. & Stain, H.J. (2017). Are we failing young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs)? A systematic review and meta-analysis of re-engagement interventions. Systematic Reviews 6: 16.
  • Wyse, D. & Torgerson, C. (2017). Experimental trials and ‘what works?’ in education: The case of grammar for writing. British Educational Research Journal 43(6): 1019-1047.
  • Chisholm, K., Patterson, P., Torgerson, C., Turner, E., Jenkinson, D. & Birchwood, M. (2016). Impact of contact on adolescents’ mental health literacy and stigma: the SchoolSpace cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open 6(2): e009435.
  • Torgerson, D., Torgerson, C., Jefferson, L., Buckley, H., Ainsworth, H., Heaps, C. & Mitchell, N. (2015). Evaluation of Discover Summer School. On-line Education Research Journal
  • Torgerson, D., Torgerson, C., Mitchell, N., Buckley, H., Ainsworth, H., Heaps, C. & Jefferson, L. (2015). Evaluation of Grammar for Writing. On-line Education Research Journal
  • Ainsworth, H., Hewitt, C., Torgerson, C., Higgins, S., Wiggins, A. & Torgerson, D. (2015). Sources of bias in outcome assessment in randomised controlled trials: a case study. Educational Research and Evaluation 21(1): 3-14.
  • Hewett, R., Torgerson, C. & Douglas, G. (2014). Accessibility of Apple iPad for partially sighted users: pilot study. Journal of Assistive Technologies 8(1): 2-13.
  • Oliver, E.J., Mawn, L., Stain, H.J., Bambra, C.L., Torgerson, C., Oliver, A. & Bridle, C. (2014). Should we ‘hug a hoodie’? Protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis of interventions with young people not in employment, education or training (so-called NEETs). Systematic Reviews 3: 73.
  • Torgerson, C., Wiggins, A., Torgerson, D., Ainsworth, H. & Hewitt, C. (2013). Every Child Counts: testing policy effectiveness using a randomised controlled trial, designed, conducted and reported to CONSORT standards. Research in Mathematics Education 15(2): 141-153.
  • Fine, P., Victora, C.G., Rothman, K.J., Moore, P.S., Chang, Y., Curtis, V., Heymann, D.L., Slutkin, G., May, R.M., Patel, V., Roberts, I., Wortley, R., Torgerson, C. & Deaton, A. (2013). John Snow's legacy: epidemiology without borders. Lancet 381(9874): 1302-1311.
  • Conner, M., Grogan, S., Lawton, R., Armitage, C., West, R., Siddiqi, K., Gannon, B., Torgerson, C., Flett, K. & Simms-Ellis, R. (2013). Study protocol a cluster randomised controlled trial of implementation intentions to reduce smoking initiation in adolescents. BMC public health 13: 54.
  • Firmstone, V.R., Elley, K.M., Skrybant, M.T., Fry-Smith, A., Bayliss, S. & Torgerson, C.J. (2013). Systematic review of the effectiveness of continuing dental professional development on learning, behavior or patient outcomes. Journal of Dental Education 77(3): 300-315.
  • Chisholm, K., Patterson, P., Torgerson, C., Turner, E. & Birchwood, M. (2012). A randomised controlled feasibility trial for an educational school-based mental health intervention: study protocol. BMC Psychiatry 12: 23.
  • Buckley, S., Coleman, J., Davison, I., Morley, D. & Torgerson, C. (2012). An e-learning package to support interprofessional education: a pilot feasibility and efficacy randomized controlled trial in a medical education setting. Effective Education 4(2): 111-122.
  • Green, K.E., Taylor, C.A. & Torgerson, C. (2012). An overview of systematic reviews in medical education and a focused review in prescribing. Effective Education 4(2): 147-167.
  • Ainsworth, H., Torgerson, D. & Torgerson, C. et al (2012). Computer-based instruction for improving student nurses' general numeracy: Is it effective? Two RCTs. Educational Studies
  • See, B.H., Gorard, S. & Torgerson, C. (2012). Promoting post-16 participation of ethnic minority students from disadvantaged backgrounds: a systematic review of the most promising interventions. Research in Post-Compulsory Education 17(4): 409-422.
  • Marsden, E. & Torgerson, C. (2012). Single group pre- and post-test designs: Some methodological concerns. Oxford Review of Education 38(5): 583-616.
  • Torgerson, C., Wiggins, A., Torgerson, D., Ainsworth, H., Hewitt, C. & on behalf of the Every Child Counts independent evaluation team (2012). The effectiveness of an intensive individual tutoring programme (Numbers Count) delivered individually or to small groups of children: a randomised controlled trial. Effective Education 4(1): 73-86.
  • Strong, G.K., Torgerson, C., Torgerson, D. & Hulme, D. (2011). A systematic meta-analytic review of evidence for the effectiveness of the 'Fast ForWord' language intervention program. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 52(3): 224-235.
  • See, B.H., Torgerson, C., Gorard, S., Ainsworth, H., Low, G. & Wright, K. (2011). Factors that promote high post-16 participation of some minority ethnic groups in England: A systematic review of the UK-based literature. Research in post-compulsory education 16(1): 85-99.
  • Oxman, A.D., Bjorndal, A. & Torgerson, C. (2010). A framework for mandatory impact evaluation to ensue well informed public policy decisions. The Lancet 375.
  • Ainsworth, H., Torgerson, D., Torgerson, C., Bene, J., Grant, C., Ford, S. & Watt, I. (2010). The effect of hypnotherapy on exam anxiety and exam performance: a pilot randomised controlled trial. Effective Education 2(2): 143-154.
  • Clarkson, J., Ramsay, C., Torgerson, C. & Vale, L. (2010). The translation research in a dental setting (TRiaDS) programme protocol. Implementation Science 54(57).
  • Baker, J.A., Ainsworth, H.R., Torgerson, C. & Torgerson, D. (2009). A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials evaluating the effect of hypnosis on exam anxiety. Effective Education 1(1): 27-41.
  • Torgerson, C. (2009). Randomised controlled trials in education research: a case study of an individually randomised pragmatic trial. Education 3-13 37(4): 313-321.
  • Andrews, R., Torgerson, C., Low, G. & McGuinn, N. (2009). Teaching argument writing to 7 - 14-year-olds: an international review of the evidence of successful practice. Cambridge Journal of Education 39(3): 291-310.
  • Brooks, G., Burton, M., Cole, P., Miles, J., Torgerson, C. & Torgerson, D. (2008). Randomised controlled trial of incentives to improve attendance at adult literacy classes. Oxford Review of Education 34(5): 493-504.
  • Torgerson, C. (2008). Randomized experiments evaluating policy interventions are feasible. The Psychology of Education Review 32(2).
  • Andrews, R., Torgerson, C., Beverton, S., Freeman, A., Locke, T., Low, G., Robinson, A. & Zhu, D. (2006). The effect of grammar teaching on writing development. British Educational Research Journal 32(1): 39-55.

Report

  • Torgerson, C.J., Torgerson, D.J., Ainsworth, H., Hewitt, C.E., Kasim, A., Kokotsaki, D., Bell, K., Elliott, L. & Gascoine, L. (2018). Calderdale Excellence Partnership: IPEELL. Evaluation and Executive Summary. School of Education. Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).
  • Robinson-Smith,L., Fairhurst,C., Stone,G., Bell,K., Elliott, L., Gascoine,L., Hallett,S., Hewitt,C., Hugill,J., Torgerson,C., Torgerson,D., Menzies,V. & Ainsworth,H. (2018). Maths Champions: Evaluation Report and Executive Summary. Education Endowment Foundation.
  • Torgerson, C., Bell, K., Coleman, E., Elliott, L., Fairhurst, C., Gascoine, L., Hewitt, C. & Torgerson, D. (2018). Tutor Trust: Affordable primary tuition. Evaluation report and executive summary. School of Education. Education Endowment Foundation.
  • Torgerson, C., Nielsen, C., Gascoine, L., Filges, T., Moore, I., Nielsen, B. & Jørgensen, F. (2017). A systematic review of the effective continuing professional development training of welfare professionals. København, VIVE The Danish Centre for Social Science Research.
  • Torgerson, C., Ainsworth, H., Buckley, H., Hampden-Thompson, G., Hewitt, C., Humphry, D., Jefferson, L., Mitchell, N. & Torgerson, D. (2016). Affordable Online Maths Tuition: Evaluation report and executive summary. Education Endowment Foundation.
  • Menzies, V., Kasim, A., Kokotsaki, D., Hewitt, C., Akhter, N., Collyer, C., Younger, K., Wiggins, A. & Torgerson, C. (2016). Hallé SHINE on Manchester: Evaluation report and executive summary. Education Endowment Foundation.
  • Menzies, V., Collyer, C., Kokotsaki, D., Hewitt, C., Younger, K., Wiggins, A. & Torgerson, C. (2015). SHINE in Secondaries: Evaluation report and Executive summary. Education Endowment Foundation.
  • Torgerson, D., Torgerson, C., Jefferson, L., Buckley, H., Ainsworth, H., Heaps, C. & Mitchell, N. (2014). Discover Summer School. Education Endowment Foundation, London.
  • Torgerson, D., Torgerson, C., Mitchell, N., Buckley, H., Ainsworth, H., Heaps, C. & Jefferson, L. (2014). Grammar for Writing. Report to Education Endowment Foundation, London.
  • Torgerson, C., Gascoine, L., Heaps, C., Menzies, V. & Younger, Kirsty (2014). Higher Education access: Evidence of effectiveness of university access strategies and approaches. Sutton Trust.
  • Torgerson, D., Torgerson, C., Ainsworth, H., Buckley, H., Heaps, C., Hewitt, C. & Mitchell, N. (2014). Improving Writing Quality. Education Endowment Foundation, London.
  • Nag, S., Chiat, S., Torgerson, C. & Snowling, M.J. (2014). Literacy, Foundation Learning and Assessment in Developing Countries: Final Report. Education Rigorous Literature Review. Department for International Development.
  • Torgerson, C. & Torgerson, D. (2013). Randomised Controlled Trials in Education: An Introductory Handbook. Educational Endowment Foundation.
  • Torgerson, C.J., Wiggins, A., Torgerson, D.J., Ainsworth, H., Barmby, P., Hewitt, C., Jones, K., Hendry, V., Askew, M., Bland, M., Coe, R., Higgins, S., Hodgen, J., Hulme, C. & Tymms, P. (2011). Every Child Counts: The Independent evaluation Executive Summary. Department for Education (DfE).
  • Torgerson, C.J., Wiggins, A., Torgerson, D.J., Ainsworth, H., Barmby, P., Hewitt, C., Jones, K., Hendry, V., Askew, M., Bland, M., Coe, R., Higgins, S., Hodgen, J., Hulme, C. & Tymms, P. (2011). The Every Child Counts Independent Evaluation Report to DfE.
  • Wiggins, A., Barmby, P., Kokotsaki, D., Lyth, A. & Torgerson, C. (2009). City GATES evaluation Phase 1: Existing data analysis. CfBT.
  • Wiggins, A. & Torgerson, C. (2009). City GATES evaluation Phase 2: recommendations. CfBT.
  • Hendry, V., Ainsworth, H. & Torgerson, C.J. (2009). Evaluating three models of school-university partnerships at the University of York: Learning lessons and planning for the future. HEFCE.
  • Torgerson, C.J., See, B.H., Low, G. & Gorard, S. (2008). What are the factors that drive high post-16 participation of many minority ethnic groups, and what strategies are effective in encouraging participation? A focused review of the aspirations literature. EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.

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Supervises