Harris M. Cooper

Hugo L. Blomquist Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Connecticut 1975

  • M.A., University of Connecticut 1974

  • B.A., State University of New York at Stony Brook 1972


Harris Cooper received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Connecticut in 1975. From 1977 to 2003, he was on the faculty at the University of Missouri. In 2003, he moved to Duke University where he is Hugo L. Blomquist professor in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience. Dr. Cooper has been a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, the University of Oregon, and the Russell Sage Founda­tion in New York City.

Dr. Cooper's research interests follow two paths. The first concerns research synthesis and research methodology. His book, Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis: A Step-by-Step Approach (2016) is in its 5th edition. He is the co-editor of the Handbook of Research Synthe­sis and Meta-Analysis (2nd ed., 2009). Dr. Cooper and his students have published over 30 research syntheses, many of which appeared in varied prestigious journals including Psychologi­cal Bulletin, Review of Educational Research, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Marketing Research and Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. They have published over 40 articles on how to conduct research synthesis and meta-analysis. His most recent contributions focus on two “extremes” of synthesis methodology: integrating data from individual participant in different studies and integrating the results of different but related research reviews. In 2007, Dr. Cooper was the recipient of the Frederick Mosteller Award for Contributions to Research Synthesis Methodology given by the International Campbell Collaboration. In 2008, he received the Ingram Olkin Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to Research Synthesis from the Society for Research Synthesis Methodology.

Dr. Cooper is Editor-in-Chief of the American Psychological Association Handbook of Research Methods in Psychology (2012). The Handbook includes over 100 chapters on various aspects of research design and analysis. He chaired the APA committee that developed guidelines for information about research that should be included in manuscripts submitted to APA journals. In 2011, he published a book on the topic, titled Reporting Research in Psychology: How to Meet the New Standards for Journal Articles.

Dr. Cooper also studies the application of social and developmental psychology to education policy. In particular, he studies the relationship between time and learning. Most people think about how time relates to learning in terms of time in school (class time, instructional time, time-on task). Dr. Cooper’s work zooms out from the school day rather than in. He focuses on issues related to (a) the school day and school calendar and (b) academic-related contexts children find themselves when school is not in session.

Dr. Cooper has studied homework for over 25 years. His synthesis of homework research received the 2007 Outstanding Review of Research Award from the American Educational Research Association. It also provided the evidence base for his guide to policy and practice, titled The Battle over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents (3rd edition, 2007). His research on homework has had an impact on schools nationwide. In addition to working directly with parents, schools and school districts, his work has been highlighted frequently in national media. He has been a guest on NBC Dateline, CBS This Morning, ABC Nightly News and Good Morning America, CNN Headline News, Nickelodeon Nick News, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. On radio, he has appeared on The Larry King Show, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, Now Hear This, and the Mitch Ablom Show. Coverage of his work has also appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, Readers´ Digest, the New Yorker and USA Today Weekend, as well as every major metropolitan newspaper. More specialized publications also have provided coverage of his work, including Parents, Parenting, and Child magazines, NEA Today, and The American Teacher.

Dr. Cooper and his students also study the impact of school calendars and calendar variations on students and their families. Their research syntheses on summer learning loss and modified school calendars were published in Review of Educational Research. In 2000, their monograph titled Making the Most of Summer School was published by the Society for Research on Child Development. This monograph reported a synthesis of over 90 evaluations of the effectiveness of summer school. Dr. Cooper and his students recently completed syntheses of research on the effects of full-day kindergarten and extending the school year and the school day (both published in Review of Educational Research, 2010).

From 1992 to 1998, Dr. Cooper served as an elected member of the Columbia, MO, Board of Education, at that time a school district with a $100 million budget serving 16,000 students. In 1997, he won the American Educational Research Association’s Award for Interpretive Scholarship for his article “Speaking Power to Truth: Reflections of an Educational Researcher after Four Years of School Board Service.” Dr. Cooper served on the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on the Use of Social Science Knowledge in Public Policy (2007-2012).

Dr. Cooper served as editor for the Psychological Bulletin from 2003 through mid-2009. Psychological Bulletin is in the top 5 social science journals in total citations and impact factor. He was the Chair of the APA Council of Editors in 2006 and was a member of the committee that revised the APA Publication Manual (2010). In 2012, Dr. Cooper became the inaugural co-editor of the Archives of Scientific Psychology, APA’s first open methods, collaborative data sharing, open access journal. He remained as editor until 2015.

From 2009 to 2015, Dr. Cooper served as the Chief Editorial Advisor for the APA’s journal publishing program. In this role, he serves as a resource to the editors of APA’s 70+ journals as well as the mediator of disputes between editors and authors and between authors and authors. Dr. Cooper’s latest book (2016), Making Ethical Choices in Research: Managing Data, Writing Reports, and Publishing Results in the Social Sciences, draws from the experience. The book goes beyond the proper treatment of human research subjects to examine frequently neglected ethical issues that arise after data has been collected. He teaches students and researchers about important ethical considerations related to: collecting, managing, and interpreting study data; assigning research responsibilities and authorships to team members; preparing and publishing research reports; and interacting with the media and the scientific community after publication.

Dr. Cooper served as the Chair of the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience at Duke University from 2009 to2014. This academic unit has 40 primary faculty members, over 50 allied and secondary faculty members, and 20 non-regular faculty members. Annually, it trains over 70 graduate students, 350 psychology and 175 neuroscience majors. He also served as Chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri and Director of Duke University’s Program in Education.


Research synthesis and meta-analysis, research methods and ethics, education policy

Sanchez, CE, Atkinson, KM, Koenka, AC, Moshontz, H, and Cooper, H. "Self-Grading and Peer-Grading for Formative and Summative Assessments in 3rd Through 12th Grade Classrooms: A Meta-Analysis." Journal of Educational Psychology (2017). Full Text

Atkinson, KM, Koenka, AC, Sanchez, CE, Moshontz, H, and Cooper, H. "Reporting standards for literature searches and report inclusion criteria: making research syntheses more transparent and easy to replicate." Research synthesis methods 6.1 (March 2015): 87-95. Full Text

Steenbergen-Hu, S, and Cooper, H. "A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of intelligent tutoring systems on college students’ academic learning." Journal of Educational Psychology 106.2 (2014): 331-347. Full Text Open Access Copy

Steenbergen-Hu, S, and Cooper, H. "A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of intelligent tutoring systems on college students' academic learning." Journal of Educational Psychology 106.2 (2014): 331-347. Full Text

Steenbergen-Hu, S, and Cooper, H. "A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of intelligent tutoring systems on K-12 students' mathematical learning." Journal of Educational Psychology 105.4 (2013): 970-987. Full Text

Valentine, JC, Cooper, H, Patall, EA, Tyson, D, and Robinson, JC. "A method for evaluating research syntheses: The quality, conclusions, and consensus of 12 syntheses of the effects of after-school programs." Research synthesis methods 1.1 (January 28, 2010): 20-38. Full Text

Patall, EA, Cooper, H, and Wynn, SR. "The Effectiveness and Relative Importance of Choice in the Classroom." Journal of Educational Psychology 102.4 (2010): 896-915. Full Text

Cooper, H, Allen, A, Patall, EA, and Dent, AL. "Effects of full-day kindergarten on academic achievement and social development." Review of Educational Research 80.1 (2010): 34-70. Full Text


Cooper, H. "Is the school calendar dated? Education, economics, and the politics of time." Summer Learning: Research, Policies, and Programs. March 24, 2004. 3-23. Full Text

Cooper, H, Hedges, LV, and Valentine, JC. The Handbook of Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis. Russell Sage Foundation, February 5, 2009.

The Determinants and Impact of Academic Grades: What Grading Strategies Work Best awarded by William T Grant Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2016

Evaluation of an Open Science Initiative in Psychology awarded by National Cancer Institute (Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2013

Homework: A Research Synthesis with Implications for Policy and Practice awarded by Department of Education (Principal Investigator). 2004 to 2005