His research centres on vocational education, students at risk, ethnic segregation and parental choice. He received grants from several national and international agencies (e.g. European Union and OECD). He has published in journals such as Comparative Education Review, Comparative Education, Compare, Education and Urban Society, and Educational Policy, on school-based management, choice and ethnic segregation, and comparative educational policy. He co-edited the volumes Education in East Central Europe: educational changes after the fall of communism and From Intensified Work to Professional Development.
- Karsten, S., Felix, C., Ledoux, G., Meijnen, G. W., Roeleveld, J., & Van Schooten, E. (2005) Choosing segregation or integration? The extent and effects of ethnic segregation in Dutch cities. Education and Urban Society, 36,228-247.
- Karsten, S. (2006) Policy for disadvantaged children under scrutiny: the Dutch policy compared with policies in England, France and the USA. Comparative Education, 42(2), 261-282.
- Karsten, S., Ledoux, G, Roeleveld, J., Felix, & Elshof, D. (2003) School choice and ethnic segregation. Educational Policy, 17 (4), 452-477.
- Karsten, S. (2003) Dutch Social Democrats and the struggle for parental choice in education (1890-1940). History of Education, 32(4), 417-431.
- Karsten, S., Cogan, J. J., Grossman, D. L., Liu, M.-h., & Pitiyanuwat, S. (2002) Citizenship education and the preparation of future teachers. Asia Pacific Education Review, 3(2), 168-183.
- Karsten, S., Peetsma, T., Roeleveld, J., & Vergeer, M. (2001) The Dutch policy of integration put to the test: differences in academic and psychosocial development of pupils in special and mainstream education. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 16, 193-205.