Download: Common Guidelines Checklist

This document includes a series of six checklists—one for each of the six types of research outlined in the Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development. The Guidelines, developed by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation, explains those agencies’ shared expectations for education research and development. The checklists, created by EvaluATE, are distillations of key points from the Guidelines. The checklists are intended to support use of the Guidelines, enabling users to quickly reference a type of research and determine whether they are following guideline’s expectations. As such, they provide an overview and orientation to the Guidelines. They do not replace that report nor do they expand or elaborate on the report’s content. The checklists’ content has been extracted (usually verbatim) from the full report. All checklist users are strongly encouraged to read the complete Guidelines, available from

A graphic overview of the Common Guidelines is available here.

You may download the entire guidelines checklist or go directly to the checklist for each type of research by clicking on the links below:

1. Foundational Research to advance the frontiers of education and learning; develop and refine theory and methodology; and provide fundamental knowledge about teaching and/or learning

2. Early-Stage or Exploratory Research to investigate approaches to education problems to establish the basis for design and development of new interventions or strategies and/or to provide evidence for whether an established intervention or strategy is ready to be tested in an efficacy study

3. Design and Development Research to develop new or improved interventions or strategies to achieve well-specified learning goals or objectives, including making refinements on the basis of small-scale testing

4. Efficacy Research to determine whether an intervention or strategy can improve outcomes under “ideal” conditions (e.g., with more implementation support, highly trained personnel, and/or more homogenous participants than is typical)

5. Effectiveness Research to estimate the impacts of an intervention or strategy when implemented under conditions of routine practice (i.e., conditions similar to what would occur if a study were not being conducted)

6. Scale-Up Research to estimate the impacts of an intervention or strategy under conditions of routine practice and across a broad spectrum of populations and settings, sufficiently diverse to broadly generalize findings

Disclaimer: This document was created more than five years ago. While the content may still be relevant or useful, we advise you to contact EvaluATE or your NSF program officer for matters that relate to grant management or NSF requirements.

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About the Authors

Lori Wingate

Lori Wingate box with arrow

Executive Director, The Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University

Lori has a Ph.D. in evaluation and more than 20 years of experience in the field of program evaluation. She is co-principal investigator of EvaluATE and leads and a variety of evaluation projects at WMU focused on STEM education, health, and higher education initiatives. Dr. Wingate has led numerous webinars and workshops on evaluation in a variety of contexts, including CDC University and the American Evaluation Association Summer Evaluation Institute. She is an associate member of the graduate faculty at WMU.

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Nation Science Foundation Logo EvaluATE is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers 0802245, 1204683, 1600992, and 1841783. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.