Methods and Tools View all reports on this topic

Topic Overview

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.

Methods and Tools Publications

Projects on this Topic

  • Advancing Welfare and Family Self-Sufficiency Research Project (Follow-On), 2016 - 2019

    The Advancing Welfare and Family Self-Sufficiency Research follow-on contract provides 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. In particular, the contractor...

  • Building Bridges and Bonds (B3) Evaluation, 2014-2021

    There is great interest in identifying effective strategies that build fathers’ capacity to support their children, both emotionally and financially. Since 2006, Congress has provided funds for discretionary grants to programs aimed at supporting fathers in three core areas....

  • Exploring Bayesian Methods for Social Policy Research and Evaluation

    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...

  • Human-centered Design for Human Services (HCD4HS), 2018 - 2021

    In this project, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is exploring the application of human-centered design (HCD) across its service delivery programs at the federal, state, and local levels. To date, little is known regarding what HCD looks like in the context of human services, the requirements for implementation across a range of programs; the measurable outcomes and effectiveness of HCD approaches; the evaluability of HCD approaches; or the sustainability of HCD approaches.

  • Methods Inquiries, 2013-2021

    OPRE plays a central 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...

  • Rapid Learning Methods Portfolio

    Social service program stakeholders need timely evidence to inform ongoing program decisions. Rapid learning methods, defined broadly as a set of approaches designed to quickly and/or iteratively test program improvements and evaluate program implementation or impact, can help inform such decisions.

  • The Pathways to Work Evidence Clearinghouse: The What Works Clearinghouse of Proven and Promising Approaches to Move Welfare Recipients to Work, 2018 - 2021

    People who run programs for low-income job seekers and those seeking to promote policies that can improve employment outcomes for low-income individuals need evidence about what works. But it can be challenging for program administrators and policymakers to know where to find dependable sources of evidence and to know how this evidence might apply to their programs and populations...

  • The Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation

    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...