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Methods for Policy Research

Under its research program on Methods for Policy Research, the Statistics for Evidence-Based Policy and Practice, or STEPP, Center seeks to serve the practitioners and policymakers by developing and promoting state-of-the-art methods for researchers, especially in education and the applied social sciences. It seeks to generate strong evidence on research designs, synthesize and interpret results of multiple studies, and translate findings to inform policy and practice. The STEPP Center was founded in 2019 and evolved from IPR’s Q-Center.

A Message From Larry Hedges, Program Chair and STEPP Co-Director

Larry Hedges photo

We launched the Q-Center at IPR in 2006 to take advantage of a critical mass of scholars at the forefront of evidence-based research on social policy issues. Today, we seek to build on our foundational work by launching the STEPP Center to further develop and assess methods to generate, synthesize, and translate evidence to improve policy and practice.

Working Papers

Recently published articles and working papers in this program area include:

Jeff Dominitz and Charles F. Manski. 2024. Comprehensive OOS Evaluation of Predictive Algorithms with Statistical Decision Theory (WP-24-10).

Eli Finkel, Alexander Landry, James Druckman, Jay Van Bavel, and Rick Hoyle. 2024. Partisan Antipathy and the Erosion of Democratic Norms (WP-24-01).

Lorenzo Franchi, Natalia Barreto Parra, Anna Chorniy, Benjamin Weston, John Meurer, Jeffrey Whittle, Ronald Ackermann, and Bernard Black . 2023. A Comparative Assessment of Measures of Area-Level Socio-Economic Status (WP-23-43).

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Faculty Experts

This collaborative group of interdisciplinary scholars stems from statistics, economics, education, political science, and other social science fields.

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Policy Brief: Using Generalization to Improve the Accuracy of Education Studies

If research studies are not based on the right combination of people, places, and contexts, then they are not much help in supplying evidence to make good policy. How can researchers best choose the classroom, school, and school district samples to evaluate educational programs? IPR statistician Elizabeth Tipton studies how to improve research methods so that evidence is more generalizable and provides concrete help for designing accurate studies.

Download the brief