A multi-institutional endeavor was initiated to integrate the findings of extant research studies directed toward the major science education research questions. The research questions were selected by a largely empirical process of identifiying the most frequently researched questions in the literature. These questions were assigned to various researchers who developed coding sheets and procedures with many features in common. This article describes the overall operation of the project, the research questions identified, and some rudiments of meta-analysis. The results of the several meta-analysis are reported in the other articles of this issue of the Journal. The final article in this issue deals with research topics for which data are drawn from one or more of the separate meta-analyses.