Who we are
Action Research works with child welfare systems across the country, providing information, analysis, and support to illuminate paths to better outcomes for children, youth, and families. We partner with government leaders, frontline staff, think tanks, service providers, and foundations to generate insight and drive system reform. We are nationally recognized for our child welfare expertise and for producing innovative research to drive decision-making.
What we do
We work on a range of policy topics within child welfare including foster home recruitment, kinship placements, permanency, and prevention services, among other areas. We tailor each project to the needs of our partner and produce accessible results that program staff and funders can use to make concrete decisions.
Our work takes multiple forms:
• We conduct operational and exploratory research to understand how child welfare policies, practices, and systems are functioning, translate findings into strategic recommendations, and then help our partners leverage these recommendations to improve outcomes for children and families.
• We evaluate program models and interventions to learn what is working – and what work remains to be done. We seek to understand the context, history, strengths, and challenges of particular approaches, complementing statistical quantitative techniques with focus groups, interviews, and on-the-ground work to assess program operations.
• We help develop and launch strategies to analyze system outcomes and performance. We design and support systems that utilize administrative data to allow leadership and staff to monitor progress, strengthen services, and improve outcomes.
In addition to rigorous designs and multiple research methods, we tap into sources of knowledge that are often overlooked. We have developed expertise in analyzing administrative data, an under-utilized resource that often produces findings unobtainable elsewhere. We pair the results of data analysis with the perspectives of clients, front line workers, middle managers, executives, and external stakeholders to form a comprehensive picture of how policies and programs are experienced.
We are committed to creating strong relationships with our partners. We invest in building trust with stakeholders, seek to minimize the burden of research on operations, and communicate actionable insights as they develop. With our wide range of clients, we have a reputation as an “information Switzerland”: a place that the child welfare community can rely on for accurate, reliable, and useful information.
What we are looking for
Action Research is looking for up to two program evaluation interns for the Summer 2022 semester.
Ideal applicants should be graduate students who have taken or are enrolled in a course on either program evaluation, qualitative and/or quantitative data analysis, or a research methods course that included qualitative and/or quantitative data analyses. They will assist Action Research on applied research projects, including developing a mixed methods evaluation of a pilot program to deliver an evidence-based trauma intervention to youth in foster care and analyzing data from an evaluation of services to youth transitioning to adulthood. Duties may include formulating and drafting the evaluation research plan, conducting literature reviews, coding interview data, and engaging with evaluation partners. The intern may focus on other research functions as needs and opportunities arise.
This internship is suitable for students interested in developing knowledge and skills related to qualitative data analysis, program evaluation, or research study implementation.
Role you would play
The intern will provide research, analysis, writing, and other forms of support for a variety of applied research projects. This position requires a strong desire to improve services for children, youth and families, great attention to detail, excellent writing skills, an interest in data and performance measurement, and good interpersonal skills.
Specific responsibilities and activities may include some or all of the following:
• Review qualitative tools and protocols
• Participate in fieldwork, including data collection and coding of interviews and focus groups
• Synthesize qualitative data including interview transcripts and program data
• Attend client meetings, write meeting summaries, and track action steps
• Perform library research, including literature reviews, abstracts, and memoranda—to identify best practices and national trends in the field
• Report on progress to senior staff
• Code interviews and focus groups