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About the Database
Research on the effectiveness of Direct Instruction has spanned over 40 years, consistently providing support for the assertion that all children can learn. Studies involving Direct Instruction curricula have been conducted with a wide variety of populations, in different settings, within numerous subject areas. The NIFDI Research Database makes this extensive research base more accessible to educators and researchers. Studies are catalogued on several different dimensions, allowing users to search for articles that are most relevant to their areas of interest.
On this page, you will find information about how our database is organized and tips on searching for the content you are looking for easily and quickly. Click on one of the links below to scroll to your topic of interest:
Instructions for Using the DI Research Database
There are several ways in which studies can be accessed through the database:
Research Area: A Research Area refers to a specific area of interest, such as Elementary Reading, Project Follow Through, or Secondary Mathematics. These areas can be selected from a drop down menu, and all of the studies that focus on this Research Area will be displayed in a list.
Year: A year may be selected from a drop down menu to generate a list of articles that were published during a given year.
Authors: If specific authors are of interest, the author menu contains the primary and secondary authors of all articles.
Publication Type: Users now also have the ability to search by the type of content the entry covers, organized into the following categories:
1. DI Overview and Background – Textbooks about DI, general books regarding the program, the history of its development, etc.
2. Program Effectiveness – Documentation proving DI’s effectiveness.
3. DI Theory – The theoretical and experimental work that provided the foundation for the development of the programs.
4. Implementation Support – Content with instructions for teachers, studies of implementation fidelity, school reform, administrative issues, etc.
5. DI Curricula – A listing of the programs that have been developed.
After a list of articles is displayed, users can click on the title of an article to display a summary page. This page includes the title, year, author, and source, as well as specific fields for keywords and an abstract of the article. Abstracts were written by NIFDI staff to provide a brief summary of the purpose and results of each study.
*(Bolded words signify specific keywords used in reviews)
There are eight types of designs that serve to classify studies:
- Randomized Experiment: Pretest and posttest measures are collected, a control group is included, and participants are randomly assigned to treatment and control groups.
o Matched Comparison (Demographics): Pretest and posttest measures are collected, a control group is included, and participants are divided into treatment and control groups in a manner that demographic variables (gender, age, grade, ethnicity, disability, socioeconomic status) are similar for both groups.
o Matched Comparison (Pretest): Pretest and posttest measures are collected, a control group is included, and pretest scores are used to divide participants into groups that are similar in ability.
o Non-matched Comparison: Pretest and posttest measures are collected, a control group is included, but groups are not manipulated to account for demographic or pretest differences.
- One Group Pretest-Posttest: Pretest and Posttest measures are collected, but there is no control group.
- Static Group Comparison: Posttest measures only are collected and a control group is included.
- Single Subject: Any study that allows for the participant to serve as their own control; no control group is utilized.
- Meta-analysis: A method that combines the results of several studies that address comparable research questions
- Case Study: Posttest measures only are collected; no control group in utilized.
- Longitudinal: Measures are collected multiple times over a span of more than 2 years
Characteristics of students included in studies are classified into:
- Grade (Kindergarten Students, First Grade Students, etc.)
- Age (Elementary Students, Adolescents, etc.)
- Disability (Students w/ Disabilities, Students w/Autism, etc.)
- Placement (Special Education, General Education)
- Remedial (Students who are below grade level)
- At-risk (Low SES, At-risk for academic failure)
- Specific Status (Incarcerated Students, English Language Learners, etc.)
- o Students are classified based on 2006 NAEP statistics:
- § Nationally, minority enrollment in public school is as follows:
- 20.2% Hispanic
- 15.6% African American
- 3.8% Asian
- 2.7% Multiracial
- 0.7% Alaskan/Native American
- 0.2% Pacific Islander
- o If the proportion of minority representation in studies meets or exceeds these national enrollment proportions, then a study is classified as including the specific demographic.
Location refers to the geographical region of the study. Regions are classified as follows:
o New England: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut
o Middle Atlantic: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey
o East North Central: Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio
o West North Central: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri
o South Atlantic: Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida
o East South Central: Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama
o West South Central: Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana
o Mountain: Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico
o Pacific: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii
Setting refers to the type of school that the study takes place:
- Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Preschool
- Charter School, Private School, Alternative School, Juvenile Corrections Facility
If a study indicates that fidelity data was collected, then this identifier will be marked with a Yes. If there is no indication of fidelity monitoring in the study, then No will be marked.
Program/Intervention: The curricula, programs, instruction methods or interventions included in the study will be indicated (Reading Mastery, Houghton-Mifflin, etc.) Both experimental and comparison programs will be listed. Also, the subject of interest (reading, math, etc.) will be indicated.
Dependent Measures: Measures that were used to determine efficacy will be tagged (Woodcock Johnson Achievement Test, DIBELS, etc.)
Have we missed an article? Have you spotted an error? Are you a researcher who has studies you would like included? Please let us know! You can reach our research offices by email at