Thomas D. Cook

Tom Cook headshot

Thomas D. Cook

Research Professor, George Washington Institute of Public Policy and Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration


805 21st St. NW Washington DC 20052

Thomas Cook is interested in social science research methodology, program evaluation, school reform, and contextual factors that influence adolescent development, particularly for urban minorities.

Professor Cook taught at Northwestern University from 1968 to 2015, where he holds the titles of Joan and Serepta Harrison Emeritus Professor of Ethics and Justice and Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Psychology, Education, and Social Policy. He also serves as a Research Fellow, Institute for Policy Research.

  • Islamic Art
  • Italian, German, French, Turkish and Persian cultures
  • Travelling
  • The contrast between democratic socialism and US corporate democracy
  • Sidney Ball Memorial Lecture, Oxford University, November 2014.
  • Peter H. Rossi Award for Contributions to the Theory or Practice of Program Evaluation, Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management, 2012.
  • Sells Award for Lifetime Achievement, Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, 2008.
  • Clifford Clogg Memorial Lecture in Sociology and Statistics, Pennsylvania State University, 2004.
  • Margaret Mead Fellow, American Academy of Political and Social Science, 2002.
  • Jerry Lee Lecture, University of Pennsylvania, 2002.
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2000.
  • Editor for entries on “Logic of Inquiry and Research Design”, International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1998-2001.
  • Distinguished Research Scholar Prize, Division 5, American Psychological Association, 1997.
  • Donald Campbell Prize for Innovative Methodology, Policy Sciences Organization, 1988.
  • Myrdal Prize for Science, American Evaluation Association, 1982.
  • Board Member for 10 years and President of the Board for three of them, Russell Sage Foundation, New York .
  • Trustee, Textile Museum of Washington DC.

Causal Inference in the Social Sciences; Evaluation Theory; Evaluation Practice.

Selected Books

Shadish, W. R., Cook, T. D., & Campbell, D. T. (2002). Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs for Generalized Causal Inference. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Furstenberg, F. F., Jr., Cook, T. D., Eccles, J., Elder, G. H., & Sameroff, A. (1999). Managing to Make It: Urban Families in High-Risk Neighborhoods. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cook, T. D., Cooper, H., Cordray, D., Hartmann, H., Hedges, L., Light, R., Louis, T., Mosteller, F. (Eds.), (1992). Meta-Analysis for Explanation: A Casebook. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Shadish, W. R., Cook, T. D., & Leviton, L. C. (1991). Foundations of Program Evaluation: Theories of Practice. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Cook, T. D., & Reichardt, C. S. (Eds.), (1979). Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Evaluation. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.  

Cook, T. D., & Campbell, D. T. (1979). Quasi-Experimentation: Design and Analysis Issues for Field Settings. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (Designated a “citation classic”.)

Cook, T. D., Appleton, H., Conner, R., Shaffer, A., Tamkin, G., & Weber, S. J. (1975). "Sesame Street" Revisited. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.


Selected Recent Articles since 2015

Cook, T.D. (2018) Twenty-six assumptions that have to be met if single random assignment experiments are to warrant “Gold Standard” status. Social Science and Medicine.

Thomas, J., Cook, T.D., Klein, A., Prentice, S., & DeFoloria, L. (2018) The sequential scale up of an evidence-based intervention: A case study. Evaluation Review.

Tang, Y., Cook, T.D., & Kisbu-Sakarya, J. (2018). Statistical power for the comparative regression discontinuity design with a pretest no-treatment control function: Theory and evidence from the National Head Start Impact Study. Evaluation Review.

Kisbu-Sakarya, J., Cook, T.D, Tang, Y & Clark, M.H.  (2018). Comparative regression discontinuity: A stress test with small samples. Evaluation Review.

Chaplin, D.D., Cook, T.D., Zurovac, J., Coopersmith, J.S., Finucane, M.M., Vollmer, L.N. & Morris, R.E (2018). The internal and external valdity of the regression discontinuity design: A meta-analysis of 15 within-study comparisons. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Cook, T.D. (2017). The oral history of evaluation: The professional development of Thomas D. Cook, American Journal of Evaluation, August, 1-15.

Benjamin, D., J. et. al (2017). Redefine Statistical SignificanceNature Human Behavior, 2, 6-10.

Tang, Y., Cook, T. D., & Kisbu-Sakarya, Y. (2017). Statistical Power for the Comparative Regression Discontinuity Design With a Nonequivalent Comparison GroupPsychological Methods, 23(1), 150-168..

Tang, Y., Cook, T. D., Kisbu-Sakarya, Y., Hock, H., & Chiang, H. (2017). The comparative regression discontinuity (CRD) design: An overview and demonstration of its performance relative to basic RD and the randomized experiment.  Advances in Econometrics , 38, 237-279

St. Clair, T., Hallberg, K., & Cook, T.D. (2016). The Validity and Precision of the Comparative Time Series Designs: Three within-study comparisonsJournal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 41(3), 269 - 299.

Matt, G. E., & Cook, T. D. (2016). Threats to the validity of generalized inferences. In H. Cooper, L. V. Hedges, & J. C. Valentine (Eds.), The handbook of research synthesis and meta-analysis: Third edition. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Cook, T.D (2016). William Raymond Shadish, Jr.: Will Shadish’s intellectual accomplishments. American Journal of Evaluation, 37(4), 589-591.

Hallberg, K., Cook, T.D., Steiner, P.M. et al. (2016). Pretest Measures of the Study Outcome and the Elimination of Selection Bias: Evidence from Three Within Study ComparisonsPrevention Science, 1-10.

Steiner, P.M., Cook, T.D., Li, W., & Clark, M.H. (2015). Bias reduction in quasi-experiments with little selection theory but many covariatesJournal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 8(4).

Wong, M. , Cook, T. D.  & Steiner, P. M (2015). Adding design elements to short interrupted time series when evaluating national programs: No Child Left Behind as an example of pattern-matching.  Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 8(2), 245-279.

Cook, T.D. (2015). The Inheritance bequeathed to William G. Cochran that he willed forward and left for others to will forward again: The Limits of Observational Studies that seek to Mimic Randomized Experiments. Observational Studies, 141-164.

Gottfredson, D.C,, Cook T.D., Gardner, F.E.M., Gorman-Smith, D., Howe, G. W., Sandler, I.N., & Zafft, K.M (2015). Standards of evidence for efficacy, effectiveness, and scale up research in prevention science: Next generationPrevention Science, 1-34.

St. Clair, T. & Cook, T.D. (2015). Difference-in-difference methods in public financeNational Tax Journal, 68(2), 319-338.

Ph.D. Stanford University

BA Oxford