This practical text equips students, researchers, and policymakers in the social sciences with the tools they need for applying mixed methods in policy research and program evaluation, from design, through data collection, and dissemination. Emphasizing the “how-to”—the set of conceptual and active tasks carried out by mixed methods researchers—the book is illustrated with rich case studies from the authors’ own research projects in education and public policy. These examples help readers identify and explain policy and program impacts and better understand the “why” and “how” of observed effects. Throughout the book, the authors describe challenges that both beginners and advanced scholars are likely to encounter when doing mixed methods research and recommend practical tools available to address them.

Introduction: The Demand for and Value of Fully Integrated Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Introduction: The Demand for and Value of Fully Integrated Qualitative and Quantitative Research

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The demand for more rigorous evidence of policy and program effectiveness has been building globally for more than four decades. Expanding access to data and growing expectations and capacity for measuring program performance have coincided with increasing calls by the public for greater accountability for policy and program outcomes and responsiveness to stakeholder interests and needs. For example, in the United States the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy—formed in 2001 by leaders from academic and policymaking circles to promote efforts to build a knowledge base of proven interventions in social policy—argued that programs were too often implemented with little regard for evidence, costing billions of dollars while failing to address critical societal ...

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