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School of Education

Staff Profile

Prof Carole Torgerson

Professor in the School of Education

Contact Prof Carole Torgerson

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 co-organiser of the annual international Randomised Controlled Trials in the Social Sciences Conference, now in its ninth 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 (RCTs and QEDs) and literature reviews; undergraduate teaching in research methods; rigorous evaluation design and methods in 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.

Media/Knowledge translation

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

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.

Indicators of Esteem

  • Co-Chair and Editor, international Campbell Collaboration Education Co-ordinating Group: and member of C2 Steering Group, 2006–09
  • International: Principal member Mathematics and Science Scientific Review Panel, United States, Institutes of Education Sciences (IES), 2007-8 and 2011-13
  • International: Principal member (only non-US) Reading and Writing Scientific Review Panel, United States, Institutes of Education Sciences (IES), 2008-11
  • International Advisory Group: Supporting Informed Healthcare Choices in Low Income Countries research project (based in Norway)
  • Keynotes:

    Keynote speaker: meeting hosted by President of the French Academy of Sciences (closed meeting), (Paris) on the theme ‘Vers une éducation fondée sur la preuve scientifique?’ (Towards an evidence-based education?), May, 2009.

    Keynote lecture: 2006 Cathie Marsh Memorial Lecture, organised jointly by the Social Research Association (SRA) and the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), 'The suitability of randomised controlled trials in social research', Nov 9, 2006.

    Keynote presentation: ESRC Research Methods Programme 2007 Conference: ‘Challenges for the 21st Century’: ‘The feasibility of conducting randomised trials in education research’, Nov. 2007.

  • Member of Editorial Boards:

    Effective Education, Routledge Journals (Taylor Francis), 2007- present; Educational Research and Evaluation, 2012-; Campbell Collaboration Education Co-ordinating Group, 2012-

  • 2009: International: Member Advisory Board: edited volume: Lipsey, M. and Cordray, M. (Eds.) Field Experimentation: Methods for Evaluating What Works, for Whom, Under What Circumstances, How and Why, Sage, 2009
  • 2010: International: Member (only non-US) Expert Methodology Group, United States, Institutes of Education Sciences (IES), 2010
  • 2011: National: Member of Academic Group, Dept. of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to support the Government's review of adult literacy and numeracy provision, 2011-12
  • 2013: International Peer Review Panel: Member, Trygfonden Foundation grants peer review panel, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • 2013: Invited presentations:

    Building Evidence into Education, Ben Goldacre report launch, DfE, London, March 14th 2013, meeting hosted by Michael Gove

    John Snow legacy conference: Opportunities and challenges of undertaking trials in education, April 11-12, 2013

    Experimental evaluation in education for the Ivalua international workshop Social Experiments and Innovation: a new paradigm for public intervention? Barcelona, September 26th 2013 http://www.ivalua.cat/generic/static.aspx?id=2580

    A brief history of randomised experiments in education (over the last 100 years) for the Century of Social Enquiry seminar series, Department of Social Policy and Innovation, University of Oxford, November 7th 2013 http://www.spi.ox.ac.uk/events.html

  • 2014: Joint organiser: Annual international conference: Randomised controlled trials in the social sciences 2006-14
  • 2014: UKLA/Wiley-Blackwell Research in Literacy Education Award: Member of 2014 panel

Supervises

Research Groups

Research Projects

Selected Publications

Journal papers: academic

Journal papers: professional

Books: authored

Books: sections

  • 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.

Reports: official

  • 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. (2013). Higher Education access: Evidence of effectiveness of university access strategies and approaches. Sutton Trust.
  • 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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