Implementation Research Incubator


Researchers and funders often want to know not just whether a social program works, but how and why — the terrain of implementation research. Here, Rekha Balu and Carolyn Hill present posts from contributors inside and outside MDRC, offering lessons from past program evaluations and insights from ongoing studies that can improve research approaches.  

Rekha is a Senior Research Associate and leads projects for MDRC’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science. Carolyn is a Senior Fellow at MDRC and coauthor of Public Management: Thinking and Acting in Three Dimensions. 

Rekha BeluCarolyn HIll


Understanding the Use of Evidence-Based Practices in Multiservice Organizations

04/2017Michelle S. Manno and Louisa Treskon

How are evidence-based practices — approaches to organizing and delivering services that have been rigorously evaluated — implemented within organizations that deliver many services, some of which are not evidence-based? As part of our implementation study of the Children’s Institute, Inc., a multiservice organization in Los Angeles working with low-income children and families, we studied how the staff integrated evidence-based practices into its services, and the challenges that arose along the way. 

        More »     

Incorporating Program Model Adaptation into Implementation Research

03/2017Rekha Balu

Researchers studying education, youth development, or family support interventions sometimes encounter situations where the program staff is adjusting and adapting program components. Sometimes this is done to fit the needs of clients or budgets. Adaptations also may be made during multiyear programs and studies, for reasons such as staff turnover and budget changes. Such adaptations are likely to occur whether or not sites in a randomized controlled trial are receiving specific implementation guidance.

Instead of viewing adaptation only as an impediment to treatment fidelity, a nuisance that must be managed, we’ve been thinking about how we can anticipate these adaptations in our implementation research. 

        More »     

Announcing the Launch of MDRC’s Implementation Research Incubator

02/2017Rekha BaluCarolyn Hill

Welcome to MDRC’s Implementation Research Incubator!  We’re glad you’re here. Our monthly posts aim to inform implementation research in social policy evaluations, through

  • sharing ideas about implementation research data, methods, analysis, and findings
  • fostering development of ideas and insights about implementation research
  • integrating understanding across policy domains and academic disciplines
  • advancing transparent, rigorous implementation research
  • informing implementation practice and scale-up of evidence-based programs

        More »