About Us

About the Book


Thomas L. Russell's book, "The No Significant Difference Phenomenon: A Comparative Research Annotated Bibliography on Technology for Distance Education" (2001, IDECC, fifth edition), is a fully indexed, comprehensive research bibliography of 355 research reports, summaries and papers that document no significant difference (NSD) in student outcomes based on the mode of education delivery (face to face or at a distance). The book also includes a foreword by Dr. Richard E. Clark, one of world's most cited researchers in the area of media research design. Previous editions of the book were provided electronically; the fifth edition is the first to be made available in print from IDECC (The International Distance Education Certification Center). A copy of the fifth edition of Mr. Russell's book may be purchased through the publisher - IDECC, the International Distance Education Certification Center. The book may be ordered online.




About the Website


The No Significant Difference (NSD) website has been designed to serve as a companion piece to the book. The primary purpose of the NSD website is to expand on the offerings from the book by providing access to appropriate studies published or discovered after the release of the book. In addition to studies that document no significant difference (NSD), the website includes studies which do document significant differences in student outcomes based on the mode of education delivery. The significant difference (SD) entries on the website are further classified into three categories:

  • better results through technology - improvement in outcomes when curriculum is delivered at a distance;

  • better results in the classroom - improvement in outcomes when curriculum is delivered face to face; or

  • mixed results - some variables indicate improvement when curriculum is delivered at a distance, while others indicate improvement when curriculum is delivered face-to-face.




About the Redesign


The NSD website was originally designed to serve as a companion piece to Mr. Russell's book. As such, the website contained:

  • a short biography of Mr. Russell,

  • a link to purchase Mr. Russell's book,

  • a selection of entries from Mr. Russell's book, and

  • new entries of pertinent studies published or discovered after the release of the book.

The website was redesigned in 2005 to simplify navigation and provide additional features. In addition to the components of the original website listed above, the redesigned website:

  • Includes a top navigation bar. The redesigned website adds a persistent top navigation bar that makes it easier for users to both explore various parts of the NSD website and to return to any part of the site at any time.

  • Presents supplemental materials pertinent to the site. The redesigned website adds an "About" page and a "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) page to help new users familiarize themselves with the No Significant Difference Phenomenon, Mr. Russell's book, and the website.

  • Combines NSD and SD entries in a single database. In the previous version of the website, No Significant Difference entries were kept in a separate database from the Significant Difference entries; thus searches could be conducted on either NSD entries or SD entries, but not both at once. In the current site, NSD and SD entries are clearly labeled, but contained within a single database. When combined with the current site's new search functions, the single database offers users the best of both worlds. Now, users may:

    • perform a single search without specifying a type of entry (SD or NSD), thereby identifying both NSD and SD entries that match a set of search parameters; or,

    • specify a single type of entry (SD or NSD), thereby narrowing their search results to either only SD or only NSD entries.

  • Partitions SD entries for greater clarity. In the original website, entries were classified either as a No Significant Difference (NSD) entry or a Significant Difference (SD) entry. To improve the informative quality of the entries, the Significant Difference (SD) studies on the redesigned website have been further classified into one of three categories:

    • better results through technology - improvement in outcomes when curriculum is delivered at a distance;

    • better results in the classroom - improvement in outcomes when curriculum is delivered face to face; or

    • mixed results - some variables indicate improvement when curriculum is delivered at a distance, while others indicate improvement when curriculum is delivered face-to-face.

  • Adds a search engine. The original website allowed users to quickly identify NSD studies by year through the left navigation bar. The redesigned website retains this feature, but extracts both NSD and SD articles for the selected year. The redesigned website also adds a search engine, so entries can now be searched through a simple Keyword Search or a more detailed Advanced Search. Among other features, the Advanced Search allows users to identify studies by the type of finding (NSD, or one of the SD categories outlined above).

  • Provides a form to nominate new entries. Both NSD and SD studies are constantly being solicited for inclusion in the website. In the original website, potential new entries were emailed directly to Mr. Russell. In the redesigned website, new entries can now be nominated through a form on the website. This both prompts nominators for all the necessary information about a new entry, as well as improves the consistency between entries approved for the database.




About the Future


The redesigned website is intended to function as an ever-growing repository of comparative media studies in education research. Though the current website is not meant to be a comprehensive collection of such studies, we would like to gather as many studies as possible. Thus, both NSD and SD studies are constantly being solicited for inclusion in the website. New entries can be nominated through a form on the website.

Mr. Russell makes all decisions about inclusion of studies in the website; entries that are approved will be added to the website database and can subsequently be located through the left navigation bar or the search functions.