Accessibility statement

Professor Carole Torgerson



I am Professor of Educational Evaluation in the Psychology in Education Research Centre in the Department of Education at York. I am also an Honorary Professor at Durham University.

I began my academic career in 2001 as a Research Fellow in the Department of Education at the University of York, and then progressed to Senior Research Fellow and Reader in Evidence-based education. In 2010 I took up a Chair in Experimental Design at the University of Birmingham and between 2012 and 2020 I was Professor of Education at Durham University. I previously worked as a secondary school teacher of English and Music between 1981 and 2001. My undergraduate and masters degrees are in English and Related Literature (BA University of York) and Modern Poetry in English (MLitt University of Stirling). I undertook my doctorate (EdD) in design issues in experimental research at the University of Sheffield (2006).

I 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 & Writing and Science & Mathematics review panels and a consultant methodologist to the IES on research design between 2006-13. I am the founder and co-organiser of the annual international Randomised Controlled Trials in the Social Sciences Conference.

My main methodological research interests are in the use of experimental design and research synthesis to evaluate education and social policy.



Carole Joan Torgerson (

My research focuses on the evaluation of educational and social interventions using randomised controlled trial, quasi-experimental and systematic review designs.

My current research projects are being undertaken in collaboration with colleagues in the department and in the York Trials Unit and are funded by the ESRC and the Education Endowment Foundation.

Three representative publications are:

Torgerson, C.; Brooks, G.; Gascoine, L. & Higgins, S. (2019). Phonics: reading policy and the evidence of effectiveness from a systematic ‘tertiary’ review. Research Papers in Education 34(2): 208-238.

Filges, T., Torgerson, C., Gascoine, L. & Dietrichson, J (2019). Effectiveness of continuing professional development training of welfare professionals on outcomes for children and young people: A systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews 15(4): e1060.

Styles, B. & Torgerson, C. (2018). Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in education research –methodological debates, questions, challenges. Educational Research 60(3): 255-264.

Research group(s)

External activities


  • Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
  • BERA College of Reviewers

Invited talks and conferences

Three representative invited talks:

  • Keynote presentation: The history and future of randomised controlled trials in education: 100 years of experimental trials in education conference, jointly organised by RSS and NFER, Royal Statistical Society, September 23rd, 2019
  • Invited presentation: Undertaking randomised controlled trials in education settings: Challenges and solutions Universitat Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Milano Italia 15th October 2018
  • Invited presentation: Systematic Reviews: Challenges in communicating the results to policy-makers VIVE/SFI Danish National Research Centre Copenhagen September 2017

Editorial boards

  • Campbell Collaboration Education Co-ordinating Group
  • Educational Research and Evaluation
  • Journal of Research in Reading

Media coverage

Three representative media publications:

  • Ben Styles and Carole Torgerson (2019) Trials, Tribulations and Centenary Celebrations, in Times Educational Supplement (TES), 23rd August, 2019
  • 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
  • Dominic Wyse and Carole Torgerson 'Grammar teaching in the national curriculum: has it failed the test?' TES 20th December 2017

Contact details

Department of Education
University of York
YO10 5DD