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Quantitative Methods for Policy Research

Under its research program on Quantitative Methods, 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:

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).

José-Antonio Espín-Sánchez, Joseph Ferrie, and Christopher Vickers . 2023. Women and the Econometrics of Family Trees (WP-23-42).

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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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Research Training Institute on Cluster-Randomized Trials

Faculty Organizers: Larry Hedges and Elizabeth Tipton

This two-week, in-depth training institute covers a range of specific topics in the design, implementation, and analysis of data for use in cluster-randomized trials, allowing researchers to account for the group effects of teachers and classrooms when measuring an intervention’s effects on individual student achievement. Support comes from the National Center for Education Research, housed in the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences.

Improving Evaluations of R&D in STEM Education 2024 Summer Institute

Northwestern University, with support from the National Science Foundation is providing support for the 2024 Summer Research Training Institute on Improving Evaluations of Research and Development projects in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.

IPR 2024 Distinguished Lecture with Alondra Nelson

Alondra Nelson
Harold F. Linder Professor, Institute for Advanced Study, and Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

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.

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