Engaging Stakeholders in Research: Tips for CCDF Lead Agencies

Publication Date: June 4, 2021
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  • Pages: 13
  • Published: 2021


This brief explains how to engage stakeholders in your research and the benefits of doing so. Stakeholders are the people and groups affected by the services your agency provides.


The brief aims to help Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Agencies identify stakeholders to engage and ways to involve them. The brief gives tips on how to show respect for stakeholders and how to make decisions about engagement based on your research goals.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • Stakeholders are the people who provide or support services and maybe they even work for your agency. They are people who do or could receive services. They are also people and organizations who feel the effects of the operational or policy decisions you make. Consider the diversity of the group you invite by thinking about culture, race and ethnicity, communities, and other characteristics.
  • You can improve the quality and usefulness of research by engaging stakeholders. By listening to and learning from stakeholders, you can get a more complete picture of strengths and challenges that support stronger operational and policy decisions.
  • You can engage stakeholders in many ways. You will want to fit what you do to the specific goals and constraints of your research, and the needs and cultures of your stakeholders. Create a safe environment for sharing. Treat stakeholders with fairness and respect.


The brief shows examples of how to engage stakeholders in research, drawing from ten recent early care and education studies. These studies were chosen because each engaged at least one CCDF stakeholder group and they provide a range of topics relevant to CCDF Lead Agencies. The reports cover states, territories, and tribes, and a range of engagement activities.


Derrick-Mills, Teresa. (2021). Engaging Stakeholders in Research: Tips for CCDF Lead Agencies, OPRE Report #2021-76. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, US Department of Health and Human Services.


people who feel the effects of the operational and policy decisions that result from the research.