Shared Methodological Advancement (2020-2025)

Project Overview

The mission of the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) is to produce rigorous evidence for improving child and family well-being. OPRE’s portfolio has long included work utilizing innovative methodology in social science research. The passage of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018, also known as the Evidence Act, amplified the need to build awareness of methodological advancements for evaluating social programs and policies and to strengthen the capacity of human services programs to evaluate their effectiveness. OPRE has contracted with Insight Policy Research (Insight) to support continued work on understanding rigorous research methods through the Methodological Advancement project. The project includes four main tasks: (1) facilitate OPRE’s annual Methods Meeting, (2) develop and disseminate products associated with the learning generated from the Methods Meeting, (3) facilitate the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation’s (ASPE) Evidence Day meeting, and (4) adapt and develop technical assistance materials on research and evaluation, including updating OPRE’s Program Manager’s Guide to Evaluation.

Timeline, Scope, and Goals

OPRE Methods Meeting

The Methods Meeting brings together expertise from various disciplines, policy fields, academia, government, and the private sector to explore innovations in research design, analytic techniques, and data measurement that could advance the Government’s use of rigorous research methods. The Methods Meeting typically takes place each year in the fall.

Insight’s team, which will support planning the 2021 meeting, includes leading experts in technical assistance and meeting planning and execution. Over the first year of the Methodological Advancement project, Insight will work closely with OPRE to build a meeting agenda; develop a list of experts on the selected meeting topic; and create dissemination products related to the meeting topic. Insight will also support logistical meeting planning and management, including conducting market research; engaging and coordinating with logistics vendors; managing subcontractors; and facilitating meeting logistics. Insight will support the 2022 and 2023 Methods Meetings with the same activities. Visit the OPRE Methods Meeting website to access resources and materials from previous meetings.

ASPE Evidence Day Meeting

The ASPE Evidence Day Meeting, currently planned for 2021, will support implementation of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 by sharing best practices across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the collection, analysis, and use of data to inform policymaking. Insight will support the logistical planning and execution by working with a team of staff from OPRE and ASPE to develop themes for plenaries and sessions, manage meeting logistics, and disseminate meeting materials.

Technical Assistance Materials

This project will support the evaluation capacity of human services programs and other external stakeholders through refinement of OPRE’s Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation and developing or improving accompanying technical assistance resources. Insight will support this work beginning with identification and engagement of stakeholders who use the guide to understand its strengths and areas in need of improvement. The project team will consult stakeholders and subject matter experts in the first half of 2021 to obtain their feedback on the guide and identify priorities to guide the development of additional technical assistance resources. In the second half of 2021, the project team will begin developing an updated Program Manager’s Guide to Evaluation and supplementary research and evaluation technical assistance resources, to be finalized in 2022.

Visit the OPRE Innovative Methods Meetings website Visit disclaimer page to access resources and materials from previous meetings.

Point(s) of contact: Kriti Jain and Ellen Litkowski.