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Policymakers are increasingly interested in using administrative data to address policy-relevant research questions. While researchers generally prefer individual-level administrative data in order to provide maximum flexibility to their analyses, it can be both difficult and costly to obtain. When individual-level data are not available or are too difficult or costly, aggregate administrative data can address many policy-relevant research questions...

In the fall of 2014, OPRE organized an Innovative Methods meeting to explore cutting-edge applications of methods and analytic techniques that can inform social program practice and policy. This brief summarizes the meeting and includes..

Administrative data have the potential to help us answer pressing social policy questions. Government stakeholders and researchers are exploring the promises of using administrative data for research purposes.

This brief summarizes an Innovative Methods Meeting that was organized by OPRE in the fall of 2015 that considered the potential benefits and pitfalls of using administrative data for research purposes...

In the fall of 2016, OPRE brought together a diverse group of participants from federal agencies, research firms, foundations, and academia to discuss alternatives to randomized controlled trials and their assumptions, trade-offs, benefits, and challenges.

Policymakers are increasingly interested in using administrative data to address policy-relevant research questions. In order to make use of administrative data for social policy research, there are multiple issues to consider...

Policymakers and practitioners have a growing interest in answering questions beyond simply “does a program work?” They are also interested in learning how programs work. Mediation analysis is one tool that researchers can use to identify elements of an intervention that do, or do not, lead to improved participant outcomes. Researchers can use the results of a mediation analysis to build knowledge to improve programs...

There is growing emphasis placed on evidence-based interventions, and opportunities to make programmatic decisions based on evidence reflect progress in promoting positive outcomes. However, some populations (e.g., ethnic and cultural minority communities, marginalized groups) may be left behind in efforts to build evidence, if they are more difficult to study. Over time, as evidence builds for the populations...

In this video roundtable, government experts and experienced researchers discuss the opportunities and challenges presented when using administrative data for social policy research. Topics include: tips for planning administrative data research; working with (federal and state) data custodians; negotiating data...