Professional Biography

Dr. Robert Boruch is the University Trustee Chair Professor of Education and Statistics at the University of Pennsylvania. 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 board of 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, in developed and developing countries, and to work on data sharing and ethics. His recent work is reflected in the titles of the articles listed below.


Ph.D. (Psychology; Statistics Minor) Iowa State University, 1968

B.E. (Metallurgical Engineering) Stevens Institute of Technology, 1964

Areas of Expertise

Evaluation of effects of educational and social interventions

Evaluation in developing countries

Randomized controlled trials

Ethics in social research

Systematic reviews of evidence and standards of evidence

Selected Publications

Boruch, R. (in press for 2019). Donald Thomas Campbell: Game changer. In Sage Research Foundations Encyclopedia. London: Sage Publications, Ltd.

Boruch, R. (in press, 2018). To randomize or not to randomize, that is the question. New Directions in Program Evaluation.

Farrington, D., Losel, F., Boruch, R., and others (in press, 2018). The replication crisis in science and criminology. Journal of Experimental Criminology

Wagner, D. A., Wolf, S., Boruch, R. F. (Eds.). (2018) Learning at the bottom of the pyramid: Science, measurement, and policy in low-income countries. Paris, France: UNESCO-IIEP.

Boruch, R. (2018). Conflict of interest. In B. Frey (Ed.), SAGE encyclopedia of educational research, measurement, and evaluation (p. 371). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. DOI:

Boruch, R. (2018). Confidentiality. In B. Frey (Ed.), SAGE encyclopedia of educational research, measurement, and evaluation (pp.363–364). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. DOI:

Boruch, R., Yang, R., Hyatt, J., & Turner, H. (2017). Randomized controlled trials. In B. Greve (Ed.), Handbook of social policy evaluation. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Boruch, R., Chao, J., & Lee, S. (2016). Program evaluation policy, practice, and use of results. Comparative Education Research Quarterly, 24(4), 71–90. DOI: 10 6151/CERQ.2016.2404.03.

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., & 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., Rui, N. (2008) 从RCT到证据分级评价系统:循证实践在社会 科学领域的发展现状 (From randomized controlled trials to evidence grading schemes: Current state of evidence-based practice in social sciences). 中国循医学 (Chinese Journal of Evidence-based Medicine) 9(1), 12–18.

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