How to Design Research to Evaluate Programs

Center for the Study of Law and Society
Miniseries in Empirical Research Methods

Friday, April 3, 2009, 9 a.m. – 12 noon. Lunch to follow.

 Justin McCrary
Assistant Professor of Law and Economics
University of California, Berkeley

This workshop considers how to design research to evaluate programs by focusing on a particular example, the EBCLC Clean Slate Program.  The Clean Slate program is a program run by East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) that seeks to help individuals through the legal process of clearing a conviction from their criminal record.  I discuss some of the ongoing plans for evaluation of this program, including alternative experimental and quasi-experimental research designs; data requirements and sampling strategies, including the possible use of administrative data; threats to successful implementation; threats to the validity of inferences drawn, even if successfully implemented; and the utility of knowledge emerging from such an evaluation.

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