Joshua R. Polanin

Principal Researcher

Joshua R. Polanin is a principal researcher in the Human Services Division at AIR. Dr. Polanin is a co-founder and co-director of the Methods of Synthesis and Integration Center (MOSAIC) at AIR, helping to lead all aspects of AIR’s synthesis portfolio. He serves as chief architect of the software MetaReviewerwhich is a collaborative-minded software for conducting evidence syntheses, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and AIR’s Equity Initiative. He is particularly involved in increasing the use of artificial intelligence within the research synthesis process

Dr. Polanin is also the principal investigator (PI) of an AIR Equity Initiative grant, which is investigating social and emotional learning evaluations’ sample and effects composition using a participatory evidence synthesis framework. He is co-PI of two meta-analysis workshops funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES): Modern Meta-Analysis Research Institute and Meta-Analysis Training Institute, respectively. He was the PI of the NSF-funded project Effects of the Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration, and Evaluation Instructional Model: Systematic Review and Innovation Through New Meta-Analysis Methodology. He was also co-PI of two meta-analysis grants sponsored by IES: How Effective are Various Types of College Aid Programs? A Systematic Reviewand Meta-analysis of the Evidence and Exploring Heterogeneity in English Learner Intervention Effects with Meta-Analysis

Read our Q&A with Josh Polanin about his experience in quantitative methodology, particularly systematic review and meta-analysis.

 Dr. Polanin served as PI of two National Institute of Justice-funded systematic reviews and meta-analyses, The Consequences of School Violence: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis and A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Interventions to Decrease Cyberbullying Perpetration and Victimizations. Dr. Polanin previously served as the co-PI (2021 – 2023) and Project Director (2018 – 2021) of the What Works Clearinghouse – Statistics, Website, and Training contract; his responsibilities included overseeing all aspects of the work. He is certified in v5.0 WWC Standards and Procedures as well as v4.1 Regression Discontinuity Design and Single Case Design standards. In 2020, he won the Early Career Award from the Society for Research on Educational Evaluation. 

In 2021, he won the Robert Boruch Award for Distinctive Contributions to Research that Informs Public Policy from the Campbell Collaboration. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles; 25 presented the results from a systematic review and meta-analysis. 


Joshua Polanin

Institute of Education Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship, Social and Educational Policy, Vanderbilt University; Ph.D., Research Methodology, Loyola University Chicago; B.S., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign