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Learning About Data and Research

This page assists practitioners and policymakers in better understanding and using data sets and diverse research methodologies ranging from random assignment studies to qualitative studies.

For a review of common research and evaluation terminology, click here to access a glossary of research terms.

The following guides provide descriptions of resources to consult to learn more about different research methodologies:

Additional Resources:

  • The Family Self-Sufficiency Data Center supports the development, implementation, and ongoing operations of a data center to foster family self-sufficiency research and activities. The Center serves as a hub to support the development of state and institutional capacity for data collection, linkage, and, where necessary, storage in order to provide access to high-quality data to practitioners and policymakers in family self-sufficiency programs and research. The Center works independently and in collaboration with the Scholars Network. The Data Center conducted a comprehensive needs assessment and developed a prototype for a web-based data archive and analysis tool. The Center has piloted the tool with Illinois and Colorado administrative data and is currently seeking to develop data partnerships with other states and other sources of administrative data. Additionally, the Data Center plans to develop and share open-source programming code to support administrative data users in state agencies. Other ongoing activities include providing technical assistance to states around administrative data and facilitating convenings for data users to exchange ideas and best practices.
  • The Administration for Children & Families Common Framework for Research and Evaluation 
  • The Program Manager’s Guide to Evaluation, Second Edition
  • Using Administrative Data in Social Policy Research

Tip sheets and tools on topics such as assessing research findings and applying research for program performance are forthcoming.

group of students working on equations