Home
ABOUT SSI
PLANNING
RESEARCH
Working with SSI
Research Design
Research Studies
Data Collection
Instrumentation
Data Analysis
Reporting
Publications
COMMUNICATION
FUNDING
CLIENTS
CONTACT
 


______________________________________________________________________

Strategic Solutions designs research and evaluations in consideration of your organization's needs and resources; they typically consist of two or more complimentary studies that are either experimental, quasi-experimental, non-experimental designs or a combination thereof. Experimental designs are the most scientifically rigorous, non-experimental, the least rigorous.


Brief descriptions of types of research/evaluation studies are presented below.

Note: for clarification purposes, the term tested refers to the administration of a test, survey or some other assessment to program recipients as a way to measure program gains.

______________________________________________________________________


A. Experimental: (most rigorous) this model helps determine program efficacy by 1) randomly assigning program recipients into 2) treatment (program) and control (non-program) groups; and 3) testing recipients at two or more points in time. Two broad classifications are presented:
_____________________ 

1. Between-group
: for programs with varying levels of treatment, different groups of recipients are exposed to only one level and then comparisons made between groups. This design relies on randomization among treatment groups for control; recipients are tested both prior to and after the program.  

2. Within-group
: for programs with varying levels of treatment, the same recipients are exposed to each level as in pre-/post studies and then comparisons made. Since the recipients are the same for all treatment levels they act as their own control; recipients are tested both prior to and after the program.
______________________________________________________________________

B. Quasi-Experimental: (less rigorous) this model helps determine program efficacy by 1) testing recipients at one or two points in time; BUT 2) either no control group is used and/or 3) they are not randomly assigned. Six examples are presented.
______________________ 

1. One-Group, Posttest-Only Study
: program recipients are tested only
after the conclusion of the program. Lacks a pretest baseline and a control or comparison group. Is best used as a single-shot case study where
information is gathered on pretest conditions through recipient recollection.  

2. Nonequivalent Two-Group, Posttest-Only Study: program recipients along with a comparison group are tested only after the conclusion of the program. Lacks a pretest baseline and equivalent recipient groups, and program results may be due to treatment or to differences between groups.  

3. One-Group, Pretest-Posttest Study
: only program recipients are tested
but at two points in time: prior to and after the program. Lacks a control group
and therefore subject to numerous threats to validity: history (events occurring between pretest and posttest), maturation (changes in recipients), regression toward the mean (tendency of extremes to revert toward averages), test experience (practice effect of re-taking the same test), and other challenges to validity.  

4. Nonequivalent Two-Group, Pretest-Posttest Study
: both program recipients and a comparison group are tested at two points in time: prior to and after the program. This reduces threats to validity; however, since the groups are not equivalent there is still the possibility of selection bias (observed changes are due to recipient selection vs. actual treatment).  

5. Equivalent Two-Group, Pretest-Posttest Study
: both program recipients and a comparable comparison group are tested at two points in time: prior to and after the program. This reduces threats to validity without the possibility of selection bias.   

6. Control Group, Pretest-Posttest Study: both program recipients and a
control group are tested at two points in time: prior to and after the program.
While not randomly assigned, treatment (program recipients) and control groups
are equivalent and share comparable demographics. ______________________________________________________________________

C. Non-Experimental: (least rigorous) this model helps determine program efficacy by studying recipients in detail and in-depth via observation, interview and/or profile. This design does not involve a control group or establishing a baseline for determining recipient progress.  Three examples are offered.
________________________  

1. Comparison Case Study:
a select group of program recipients and a
comparison group are studied and compared. This design is useful for
identifying causal paths and influences, and interaction effects that
are not typically treated as measurable outcomes in a quantitative study.   

2. Cross-Section Case Study: a cross-section of program recipients are studied. This design is useful for making both qualitative and quantitative cross-program comparisons. 

3. Longitudinal Case Study: program recipients are studied over several years.  This design is useful for studying outcomes at multiple points in time, and employs rigorous process tracing to establish the existence and influence of model links and time sequence of events.