Semistructured interviews involve an interviewer asking some prespecified, open-ended questions, with follow-up questions based on what the interviewee has to say. This Reflections on Methodology post describes a semistructured interview protocol recently used to explore how children who experience poverty perceive their situations, their economic status, and public benefit programs.
Sustaining Engagement in Responsible Fatherhood Programs
This web product describes some of the practices programs in a federal study used to keep participants involved in fatherhood programs. It divides these practices into three categories — inside the program, outside the program, and “round and round” continual learning — and includes a downloadable one-page tip sheet.
Several jurisdictions have instituted procedures meant to affect the use of bail. To determine whether those policies have had effects, a past trend can be used to extrapolate what would have happened had business continued as usual. This post discusses how researchers did such an extrapolation in Mecklenburg, North Carolina.
An earlier post in this series discussed considerations for reporting and interpreting cross-site impact variation and for designing studies to investigate such cross-site variation. This post discusses how those ideas were applied to address two broad questions in the Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation.
Lessons from the Los Angeles College Promise Program
The Los Angeles College Promise aims to increase college access and success by offering support services and a scholarship that covers tuition and fees for two years. This brief highlights how it has established a cycle of continual program improvement that uses insights from behavioral science and involves the students themselves.
Data from management information systems, direct observations, and the reactions of staff members can help programs understand themselves, identify areas for improvement, and set goals. This infographic presents examples of how programs in the Building Bridges and Bonds study used data from different sources to gain insights.
Part I of this two-part post discussed MDRC’s work with practitioners to construct valid and reliable measures of implementation fidelity to an early childhood curriculum. Part II examines how those data can reveal associations between levels of fidelity and gains in children’s academic skills.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires school districts to implement a five-measure accountability system. Thirty-five states have ESSA accountability systems that include measures of career readiness. Here is one example of how a school district might effectively strengthen students’ career readiness using Career Academies.
Lessons from the Grameen America Evaluation
In any study, there is a tension between research and program needs. This program’s group-based microloan model presented particular challenges for random assignment. Reflections in Methodology looks at how the research design was adapted to allow a fair test of the program’s effectiveness without hampering its ability to operate.
As an alternative to random assignment, a regression discontinuity design takes advantage of situations where program eligibility is determined by whether a score exceeds a threshold. With careful attention to assumptions, analysis, and interpretation, this quasi-experimental design can provide rigorous estimates of program effects. Reflections on Methodology outlines some considerations.