MDRC conducts its work under the following guiding principles. This Statement of Principles, which codifies MDRC practice since its founding in 1974, was approved by the MDRC Board of Directors in 2006.


The mission of MDRC is to create and widely disseminate rigorous, nonpartisan, credible evidence on the effectiveness of policies and programs aimed at improving the lives of low-income families, children and communities. Since MDRC’s founding in 1974, government and private agencies, policymakers, and the public have relied on its research when setting priorities and developing policies and practices. MDRC’s use of valid, state-of-the-art methodologies and its tradition of independence combine to ensure funders of the reliability and objectivity of the evidence it develops regarding the impact of program and policy innovations. The principles enabling MDRC to produce solid evidence-based research for the benefit of a broad audience of stakeholders are set forth below.

Project management

  • Active and continuous review of MDRC’s work by impartial experts, both internal and external to MDRC, is critical to the integrity and quality of MDRC’s products. When such review is conducted, MDRC assumes responsibility for maintaining the confidentiality of information that is shared.
  • MDRC is committed to quality control in all aspects of its work, including the creation of the research design, attention to the accuracy of data, and careful review of analyses and findings.
  • MDRC is committed to the protection of human subjects who are involved in our research and to the protection of confidentiality of identifiable data collected about study participants.
  • MDRC is committed to conducting its work at the lowest possible cost and at the greatest efficiency, consistent with our standards of excellence.

Project design

  • MDRC is committed to the variety of perspectives that is achieved through diversity both in hiring and in the construction of teams to work on projects.
  • The planning and design of demonstration projects take into account past research on effective practices.
  • MDRC seeks to implement the most credible research methods for the questions that are posed.
  • The training and technical assistance services that MDRC provides are grounded in state-of-the-art knowledge about what works and in current understanding of best practices and are performed according to the highest professional standards.

Project findings

  • The credibility of MDRC’s work depends on its ability to reach conclusions independently and to publish those results widely.
  • The release of MDRC’s findings and reports is timely in relation to the conclusion of the project and is not dependent on political considerations.
  • MDRC values review and comment by funders, participating sites, and other key stakeholders  before publication of its products .
  • MDRC strives for wide distribution of its findings in publications that are appropriately attributed and authored.
  • MDRC is committed to the creation of public use files that protect the identity of individual study participants and that enable outside researchers to verify and extend our research.