Implementation Research Incubator

Rekha Belu Carolyn HIll

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. 

10/2017 | David M. Greenberg

Implementation research on community initiatives should be able to read networks. This means understanding not just the presence or absence of partnerships, but also core patterns of collaboration, the distribution of network power, and the depth of local relationships.

09/2017 | Rekha Balu, Kristin Porter

As organizations increase their use of sophisticated screening and risk assessments in their decision making, the results have the potential to fundamentally change practice, organizational culture, and the structure of work. Implementation researchers can inform the use of predictive analytic tools both before and after their adoption.

07/2017 | Louisa Treskon

Researchers recognize the importance of program culture, but how can it be measured? The Implementation Research Incubator provides an example of a mixed-methods approach that evaluated the experiences of both participants and staff members at a youth program’s multiple sites.

06/2017 | Helen Lee, Leigh Parise

Hearing directly from those who administer and take part in social programs can greatly enrich an implementation study. The Implementation Research Incubator offers some important considerations for choosing a method and discusses the preparation involved.

05/2017 | Rekha Balu

Schools or programs often face challenges in delivering services — such as limited time – that may change what aspects of a service they implement and how. The Implementation Research Incubator discusses designing a measurement approach that can reveal important variations.

04/2017 | Michelle S. Manno, Louisa Treskon

The integration of evidence-based treatment with usual-care practices can pose challenges for organizations that deliver many services. The Implementation Research Incubator reports on a study of the Children’s Institute, Inc., whose staff has worked to employ such treatment in its services for low-income children and families.

03/2017 | Rekha Balu

Funding requirements, new government policies, or budget realities may force organizations to alter components of a program model, complicating the assessment of its implementation. How can researchers anticipate such adaptations, and what can they learn from them? The Implementation Research Incubator offers some ideas.

02/2017 | Rekha Balu, Carolyn Hill

Researchers and funders often want to know not just whether a social program works, but how and why — the terrain of implementation research. This new series of monthly posts shares ideas from past program evaluations and insights from ongoing studies that can improve research approaches.