A Job That Makes a Difference

Work at the Cutting Edge of Social Policy Research Methods

MDRC conducts experimental studies using methods that provide the best evidence to build knowledge in the social and education policy fields. It is not enough to find out what works; research must learn why and how programs work. MDRC is known for large-scale studies using random assignment and other rigorous quantitative methods, but our staff also call upon an array of qualitative techniques — ethnography, case studies rooted in field research, surveys, focus groups, classroom observations, case file reviews, and in-depth interviewing — to complement our quantitative analyses.

Unique Blend of Rigorous Research and Hands-On Involvement in Real Programs

In addition to evaluating current programs, MDRC develops demonstration projects to field-test the best practices identified in our research. Playing the dual roles of technical assistance provider and evaluator, our challenge is to build strong programs worthy of rigorous testing and reliable research designs that can tell us whether the next generation of policies and interventions are effective.

Our staff includes both experts in qualitative and quantitative research and experienced managers of programs and public agencies. Our rare combination of research and operational expertise ensures that we can strengthen the programs we study and that the real-world tests we mount answer the right questions.

Impact on Policy

MDRC’s mission is to ensure that our evidence informs policy and practice and is accessible to a broad audience. We produce clearly written research reports as well as policy briefs, “how-to” guides, and videos that distill the results of our studies and discuss their implications.

With the active participation of our research staff, we widely disseminate our findings — to the media and public interest groups, in testimony before Congress and state legislatures, through news bulletins e-mailed to more than 12,000 people, and via our award-winning Web site, which receives more than 100,000 visitors a month.