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Research & Evaluation

Connecting Research & Practice

Since WestEd’s inception in 1966, our researchers have been conducting studies to address significant questions and issues related to teaching and learning and to human development in a range of social settings.

Our staff operate at the intersection of research, policy, and practice, bringing the methods of systematic inquiry to bear on real-world problems. The organizing framework below illustrates our dual commitment to building the general knowledge base while supporting applied learning in local contexts.

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WestEd’s Approach to Research & Evaluation

The General Knowledge Base

WestEd staff understand and contribute to the knowledge base in education and related social sciences.

Understanding What’s Known

Adding to the Knowledge Base

We conduct:

Learning in Context

WestEd helps people apply knowledge and conduct research in their particular context.

Conducting Evaluations

We conduct independent, third-party evaluations of implementation and outcomes, using methods that are appropriate to the local context.
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We are increasingly asked to serve as an evaluation partner, working alongside districts, service agencies, or others, from the early stages of project design building local models, to providing ongoing formative feedback for mid-course corrections, and tracking outcomes.
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Guiding Learning Networks

Responding to the desire of organizations to learn with and from each other — whether as a set of schools or as a complex, collective impact network of social service and education agencies — we facilitate learning networks. We help members define shared goals, establish measurement systems, collect and review data, and conduct local inquiry cycles.
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The exchange of information between general knowledge and local settings is central to theory building and to improved practice.