What does it take to launch and implement a randomized evaluation?


Randomized evaluations can be challenging to launch and implement in practice. Before designing a randomized evaluation, it’s important to understand the administrative steps needed to get your project off the ground. In the US, there is a complex web of rules and regulations for research. Decisions made in the early stages of an evaluation may have lasting implications on issues like data access and use, and the ability to publish research results. We developed a checklist, Administrative Steps for Launching a Randomized Evaluation in the United States, to lead researchers through the key tasks they must tackle to launch a successful evaluation.

We also created a guide to Real-World Challenges to Randomization and Their Solutions to help researchers and implementing partners develop evaluation designs that fit their program’s context. Using real examples from ongoing and completed randomized evaluations, we describe multiple research designs that accommodate existing programs, mitigate foreseeable implementation challenges, and demonstrate the flexibility of randomized evaluations across contexts.

With these resources, we aim to make it easier for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to design randomized evaluations and produce rigorous evidence to inform their priority policy questions in the fight against poverty. For more information, please contact Rohit Naimpally at rnaimpally@povertyactionlab.org.

Author: J-PAL North America

J-PAL North America seeks to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. We do this through research, outreach, and training. We collaborate with decision-makers to generate clear, scientific evidence on which approaches work and why. We catalyze and support randomized evaluations, communicate evidence to help translate research into action, and build policymakers’ capacity to create and use evidence.

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