WASHINGTON, D.C., December 16, 2004"What is happening and why?" is often asked about social programs. For the policymakers and practitioners who create or administer these programs, implementation research can provide answers by describing their design; assessing their administration, operation, and services; and explaining their outcomes.
A Guide to Implementation Research, a new Urban Institute Press book by Alan Werner, provides a framework for organizing implementation studies and for understanding specific research strategies. The book also addresses the range of research questions and techniques available to program evaluators and the results that may be expected. Examples of implementation research by consulting firms, academics, and government agencies on welfare programs are included.
A Guide to Implementation Research is the first book to offer comprehensive, practical advice on conducting implementation studies in the context of program evaluation. The first chapter introduces implementation research and gives an overview of how to organize and conduct an implementation study. Chapter Two covers the data needs and data-collection techniques encountered in implementation research. Chapter Three describes how to organize the data to document program implementation and results. Chapter Four presents approaches to assess and explain program implementation.
A Guide to Implementation Research is a practical companion to Policy Into Action: Implementation Research and Welfare Reform (Urban Institute Press 2003, http://www.urban.org/pubs/policy/index.html), which explored implementation evaluation and its theoretical bases in the context of the sweeping changes in welfare policy of the late 1990s.
Alan Werner is a principal associate at Abt Associates, where he designs and conducts large-scale evaluations for state and federal agencies. He is a former director of research for the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare.
A Guide to Implementation Research, by Alan Werner, is available in paperback from the Urban Institute Press (6" x 9", 158 pages, ISBN 0-87766-724-1, $26.50). Order online at www.uipress.org or call 202-261-5687 or toll-free 1-877-847-7377.
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