Robert Boruch

University Trustee Chair Professor of Education and Statistics
Co-Director, Center for Research and Evaluation in Social Policy (CRESP)

Human Development and Quantitative Methods Division

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania

Phone: 215-898-0409


Professional Biography

Dr. Robert Boruch is the University Trustee Chair Professor of Education and Statistics at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Co-Director of the Center for Research and Evaluation in Social Policy (CRESP). Prior to coming to the University of Pennsylvania in 1989, Dr. Boruch was Professor of Psychology and Statistics at Northwestern University, previously holding research positions at the National Academy of Sciences, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Council on Education. 

Dr. Boruch is currently a member of the advisory board of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy and the Board of Directors for the American Institutes for Research. He has served as a member of advisory groups for the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the National Science Foundation, the National Center on Educational Statistics, and other federal agencies. Dr. Boruch has also been on the Board of Trustees of the William T. Grant Foundation, the Board of Directors of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, and the Advisory Board of the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy. He has been a member of over a dozen committees and working groups in the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Boruch is co-founder of the International Campbell Collaboration, and an award named in his honor is given each year to people who have contributed remarkably to evidence-based policy. He is a National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, and an elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the American Educational Research Association, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Academy for Experimental Criminology. He has been a residential Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center as well as visiting scholar at research centers in Mannheim, Berlin, and Munich. Dr. Boruch serves on the editorial boards of Evaluation Review and the Journal of Experimental Criminology.

Research Interests

Dr. Boruch’s work focuses on research methods and evidence for determining the severity and scope of social and educational issues, implementation of programs, and estimating the effects of interventions.  He contributes to work on randomized trials in different social sectors and in developed and developing countries and to work on data sharing.  His recent work is reflected in the titles of the articles listed below.

Selected Publications

Boruch, R. (2015) [Review of the book Fighting for reliable evidence, by J. M. Gueron & H. Rolston]. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 110 (509), 882–884.

Petrosino, A., Morgan C., Fronius, T., Tanner-Smith, E., & Boruch, R. (2015). What works in developing countries to get children into school or keep them there? A systematic review of rigorous impact studies. Research on Social Work Practice, 25, 44–60.

Boruch, R., & Brumley (2015). Randomization and social experiments. In J. Wright (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the behavioral and social sciences (2nd ed., Vol. 8), pp. 541–545. Oxford, England: Elsevier.

Boruch, R., & Donnelly, E. (2015). Privacy of individuals in social research: Confidentiality. In J. Wright (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Behavioral and Social Sciences (2nd ed., Vol. 8), pp. 942–946. Oxford, England: Elsevier.

Boruch, R., & Ruby, A. (2015). To flop is human: Can we invent better scientific approaches to anticipating failure to meet expectations in randomized controlled trials and to learn from failure? In S. Kosslyn, R. Scott, & N. Pinkerton (Eds.), Emerging trends in the behavioral and social sciences. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Boruch, R., Petrosino, A., & Morgan, C. (2015). Meta-analyses, systematic reviews, and research syntheses. In K. Newcomer, H. Hatry, & J. Wholey (Eds.), Handbook of practical program evaluation (pp. 673–698). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Boruch, R. (2015). Street walking: Randomized controlled trials in criminology, education, and elsewhere. Journal of Experimental Criminology: Tenth Anniversary Issue [Online first, October], pp. 1–15. doi: 10.1007/s11292-015-9246-7.

Boruch, R., Rovine, M., Perna, L., & Ruby, A. (2015). Reply to Weibe et al. Educational Researcher, 44, 404–405.

Perna, L., Ruby, A., Boruch, R., et al. (2014). Moving through MOOCs: Understanding the progression of users through Massive Open Online Courses. Educational Researcher, 43, 421–432. 

Boruch, R. (2007). The null hypothesis is not called that for nothing. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 3, 1–20.

Boruch, R. (Ed.). (2005). Place randomized trials [Special issue]. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 598. 

Boruch, R., Foley, E., & Grimshaw, J. (2002). Estimating the effects of interventions in multiple sites and settings: Place based randomized trials. Socialvenitenkapling, 2/3, 221–239.

Mosteller, F., & Boruch, R. (Eds.). Evidence matters: Randomized trials in education research. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.

Boruch, R. (1997). Randomized experiments for planning and evaluation: A practical guide.Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.