Methods and Tools

OPRE is responsible for generating information and answering empirical questions related to the human services provided by the Administration for Children and Families, and promoting the use of that evidence to inform policy and practice. To do so, OPRE uses a variety of research and evaluation methods that are rigorous, relevant, transparent, independent, and ethical. This set of work includes topics such as innovative research methods and designs, measurement development, and tools for understanding different types of research and evaluation.

OPRE periodically organizes meetings to convene scientists and research experts to advance critical topics in social science research methodology. These meetings provide an opportunity to discuss how innovative methodologies can be applied to policy-relevant questions, and how government-supported research can use the most scientifically rigorous methodology approaches. Learn more about OPRE's innovative methods meetings and products that have emerged from them. Learn more > Visit disclaimer page

Methods and Tools Publications

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    Projects on this Topic

    The Advancing Welfare and Family Self-Sufficiency Research follow-on contract provided timely and flexible research and evaluation support to ACF and its stakeholders and a flexible research and evaluation mechanism for responding to rapidly emerging policy priorities and research opportunities.

    Bayesian methods are emerging as the primary alternative to the conventional frequentist approach to statistical inference. Bayes' theorem is a model for learning from data. Using Bayes’ theorem, a researcher weights their prior beliefs about the size of an intervention’s effect by the data observed through experimentation.

    Good program evaluations assess program performance, measure impacts on families and communities, and document our success. With this information, programs are better able to direct limited resources to where they are most needed and most effective in...

    OPRE plays an important role in advancing understanding and disseminating knowledge about research and evaluation methods and tools that are, or could be, used to enhance knowledge about program and policy effectiveness. The purpose of the Methods Inquiries project is to organize meetings that bring together expertise from varying disciplines and policy fields and from academia, government, and the private sector to explore innovations in research design, analytic techniques, and data measurement that could be employed to advance the government’s use of rigorous research methods.

    People who run programs for job seekers with low incomes and those seeking to promote policies that can improve employment outcomes for individuals with low incomes need evidence about what works. While a large body of evidence exists it can be challenging for program administrators and policymakers to know where to find that evidence and determine how it might apply to their programs and populations.