Research & Evaluation

How We Can Help

Are you looking for research on a particular topic? Do you need an evaluator for a new initiative? Are you interested in learning continuous improvement methods or building your organization’s capacity to collect and use data?

Whatever your interest in research and evaluation, our staff can help you. For more details, check out the framework domains listed below, or feel free to contact us directly.

Contact Us About Our Research Work

Review & Synthesize Research

Do you want to know what the research says about a topic? WestEd can serve as a partner in locating, assessing, and synthesizing available research. We can help formulate questions, locate relevant research, identify inclusion criteria for which research studies to include, conduct reviews, and identify recommendations that emanate from synthesized findings.

Ask A REL is a free service of the Regional Educational Laboratories that provides research abstracts and referrals in response to requestors’ questions.

If you would like more information on how we can help or partner with you, complete the form at the bottom of this page or email us at research@WestEd.org.

Conduct Descriptive Studies

Are you interested in better understanding what’s happening around a topic of interest? For example, how are your students achieving in school? What are the achievement trends over time? Are achievement gaps closing or widening?

WestEd conducts descriptive studies — including quantitative analyses and case studies — to provide educators with a detailed analysis of current conditions that can be used as an important foundation for determining how best to address a problem.

If you would like more information on how we can help or partner with you, complete the form at the bottom of this page or email us at research@WestEd.org.

Conduct Impact Studies

To answer key questions about what works, WestEd conducts impact studies that use rigorous research designs, including randomized controlled trials — the “gold standard” research design for establishing cause and effect.

Our impact studies range from large, school-based trials to more rapid, small-scale studies. We use state-of-the-art techniques and aim to make practical contributions to professional practice in education and other fields, as well as to advance theoretical understanding of what works and how.

If you would like more information on how we can help or partner with you, complete the form at the bottom of this page or email us at research@WestEd.org.

Conduct R&D Cycles of Studies

WestEd partners with developers and with education agencies to conduct research & development (R&D) cycles of studies that pilot, test, refine, and scale products and services.

WestEd brings unique expertise in cognitive and learning sciences, technology, and classroom teaching experience to our partnerships. We can design and execute research studies that provide valuable feedback during the development cycle and meet funder requirements for evidence of usability, feasibility, fidelity of implementation, and promise.

If you would like more information on how we can help or partner with you, complete the form at the bottom of this page or email us at research@WestEd.org.

Conduct Independent Evaluations

Getting any new program or intervention underway takes significant time, energy, and financial resources. So, it’s important to know if your efforts are paying off, whether the program is being well-implemented, and ultimately if it is effective in meeting intended outcomes. A third-party or external evaluator can help answer these questions and other questions of interest.

WestEd conducts independent, third-party evaluations of implementation and outcomes, using methods — summative, formative, or mixed — that are appropriate to the local context. Armed with information from our evaluations, you will be better equipped to make key decisions about program enhancement, expansion, and sustainability.

If you would like more information on how we can help or partner with you, complete the form at the bottom of this page or email us at research@WestEd.org.

Serve as an Evaluation Partner

WestEd is increasingly asked to serve as an evaluation partner, working alongside districts, service agencies, or others, helping to build the in-house capacity to conduct research and evaluation.

WestEd evaluators partner with agencies or departments from the early stages of project design building logic models, to providing ongoing formative feedback from mid-course corrections, and tracking outcomes. Ultimately, our partnerships empower stakeholders to effectively serve their communities and sustain projects in the long-term.

If you would like more information on how we can help or partner with you, complete the form at the bottom of this page or email us at research@WestEd.org.

Facilitate Learning in Networks

Responding to the desire from 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. As a research partner, we help members define shared goals, establish measurement systems, collect and analyze data, select and implement interventions, and reflect on progress over time.

Improvement Science methods that incorporate rapid cycles of inquiry to guide continuous improvement are one key approach. WestEd can provide training for education agencies, including districts, intermediate agencies, and higher education institutions.

If you would like more information on how we can help or partner with you, complete the form at the bottom of this page or email us at research@WestEd.org.

Understand and Apply Evidence Standards

Responding to calls for evidence-based decision-making, WestEd offers tools and learning opportunities — including interactive workshops, ongoing technical assistance, and customized coaching — through our Evidence-Based Improvement guide.

WestEd conducts reviews of the quality of curricula, school environments, or assessments, using standards appropriate to the content, the client, and the context.

If you would like more information on how we can help or partner with you, complete the form at the bottom of this page or email us at research@WestEd.org.

As the Arizona Department of Education Director for Move On When Reading, my work was directly impacted by the ESSA expectations, as schools are now statutorily required to have evidence-based core reading programs for their K–3 students in Arizona. … Thankfully, your amazing team…led a two-day training on ESSA evidence levels [that] not only clearly defined the levels for our group, it also walked us through a clear and systematic process for evaluating programs for their level of evidence. … With your guidance, we can now offer more meaningful support to thousands of teachers across Arizona.

Sean Ross, Director, Move On When Reading, Arizona Department of Education