Prof Carole Torgerson, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Visiting Chair, SFI, Copenhagen, Denmark
Affiliate of the Durham University Evidence Centre for Education
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.
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.
Carole Torgerson and Dominic Wyse 'Grammar teaching in the national curriculum: has it failed the test?' TES 20th December 2017
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
Indicators of Esteem
- Awards and prizes:
Janet Duffin Award 2013
British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics (BSRLM)
Torgerson, C.J., Wiggins, A., Torgerson, D.J., Ainsworth, H., Hewitt, C.(2013) Every Child Counts: Testing policy effectiveness using a RCT, Journal of Research in Mathematics Education, 15 (2) 141-153
The Janet Duffin Award is made annually by the Society to the author (or authors) of what is judged to be the most outstanding contribution - either research paper or essay review - published in the Society’s journal, Research in Mathematics Education [RME], during the preceding calendar year.
- Cabinet Office: Academic Advisory Panel, 2014
- 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: Member (only non-US) Expert Methodology Group, United States, Institutes of Education Sciences (IES), 2010
- 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
- International Advisory Group:
Supporting Informed Healthcare Choices in Low Income Countries research project (based in Norway)
Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, Durham University
Family StAR project, Università Cattolica di Milano (based in Italy)
- International Peer Review Panel: Member, Trygfonden Foundation grants peer review panel, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2014.
- Invited presentations:
A critique of pure teaching methods and the case for synthetic phonics, Research seminar, UCL/IOE, 22/11/'18
Systematic Reviews: Challenges in communicating the results to policy-makers, VIVE/SFI Danish National Research Centre, Copenhagen, September, 2017
RCTs: State of the Art: SFI Danish National Research Centre, Copenhagen, March, 2017
Owning the future scholarly lecture series (Hatfield College, Durham University): Evaluating Public Policy, January 25th 2017
Scholars' Supper (John Snow College, Durham University): Challenges in researching the effectiveness of interventions to improve educaiton and wider outcomes for disadvantaged children, Nov. 27th, 2015
The Rise of RCTs in Education: Statistical and Practical Challenges: Royal Statistical Society Social Statistics Section, November 4th, 2015
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 11th and 12th, 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
- Joint organiser: Annual international conference: Randomised controlled trials in the social sciences 2006-18
Keynote Lecture: Janet Duffin Lecture, BSRLM conference, University of Southampton, June 14th 2014
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 presentation: ESRC Research Methods Programme 2007 Conference: ‘Challenges for the 21st Century’: ‘The feasibility of conducting randomised trials in education research’, Nov. 2007.
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.
- Member of Editorial Boards:
Effective Education, Routledge Journals (Taylor Francis), 2007- present; Educational Research and Evaluation, 2012-; Campbell Collaboration Education Co-ordinating Group, 2012-; Journal of Research in Reading, 2013-
Editor, Review of Education, 2017-
Guest Editor, Special Focus, 2018, Educational Research Journal
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
Consultant methodologist and methods trainer, BIS, 2013-14
- Peer review:
American Educational Research Journal; Biological Psychiatry; British Educational Research Journal; British Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology; British Journal of Educational Psychology; British Journal of Educational Studies; British Journal of Psychology; Child and Adolescent Mental Health; Controlled Clinical Trials; Developmental Science; Educational Research and Evaluation; Educational Review; Effective Education; European Journal of Psychology of Education; Evidence and Policy; International Journal of Educational Research; International Journal of Research and Method in Education; Journal of Early Childhood Research; Journal of Mathematics Education; Journal of Research in Reading; Learning and Instruction; Learning, Media and Technology; Oxford Review of Education; Pediatrics; Psychological Methods; Research Synthesis Methods; Review of Education; Scientific Studies of Reading; Systematic Reviews
Other peer review
(UK) ESRC grants board; (US) Institutes for Educational Sciences: reports (reading and writing); (US) Institutes for Educational Sciences: grants board (science and maths; reading and writing); (UK) MRC grants board; SAGE; Education Endowment Foundation peer review
- UKLA/Wiley-Blackwell Research in Literacy Education Award: Member of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 panels
- Ms Hatice Buber
- Ms Sian Lawrence
- Mrs Sharon Dobson
- Mr Randal Neen
- Mrs Miriam Mason-sesay
- Mr Ian Moore
- Miss Sophie Anderson
- Mr Honghuan Li
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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. (2017). Do Electronic Cigarettes Increase Cigarette Smoking in UK Adolescents? Evidence from a 12-month Prospective Study. Tobacco Control
- 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.
- 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.
- Torgerson, C, Wiggins, A, Menzies, V & Younger, K (2013), Piloting regression discontinuity design (RDD) to evaluate the effectiveness of a Saturday School transition programme, 8th Annual Conference of Randomised Controlled Trials in the Social Sciences. Durham, England, Durham.
- 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, 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., Gascoine, L., Heaps, C. & Menzies, V. (2013). Higher Education access: Evidence of effectiveness of university access strategies and approaches. Sutton Trust.
- 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.