Research and Program Evaluation

SPR has expertise in multiple methodologies, including:

We have conducted multiple studies using a wide range of quantitative designs, and pride ourselves on implementing the most rigorous quantitative design possible given the program under study. Our primary quantitative methods include:

  • Experimental Designs: SPR has conducted multiple studies using randomized designs, which are considered the Gold Standard for quantitative research. These studies have randomly assigned more than 10,000 individuals, including youth, dislocated workers, job training applicants, offenders returning to their communities, and individuals seeking educational grants to further their training.
  • Quasi-experimental Designs: SPR has conducted numerous quasi-experimental evaluations of existing programs, using techniques such as propensity score matching, difference-in-difference, and pre-post comparisons to estimate the impacts of a program on its participants. As one example of this, SPR conducted a national evaluation of the Trade-Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, using propensity score matching to select a rigorous comparison group.
  • Social Network Analyses: In our evaluations, SPR has assessed increased network leadership, network health, and increased networking, coordination, and collaboration (social network analysis or SNA) as a key methodology for understanding the strength and capacity of networks over time. We have used SNA for more than a dozen studies focused on leadership development, capacity building, field building, and movement building.
  • Outcome Studies and Other Quantitative Studies: We also have conducted dozens of studies focused on the outcomes obtained by participants in a program, or other quantitative designs, including survey design and administration, gap analyses, and needs assessments.

SPR is nationally recognized for its extensive qualitative evaluations of workforce, human services, educational, and philanthropic programs. For each study, we tailor our methods to meet the needs of the evaluation and answer the specific questions of interest to our clients. Among our qualitative methodologies are:

  • Interviews: We have conducted hundreds of site visits to grantees, programs, schools, community- and faith-based organizations, and government agencies across the country, allowing us to interview thousands of staff directly engaged in providing services or working with their communities. These visits have been as short as a few hours, and as long as an entire week, and have allowed our staff to explore a wide range of topics in-depth with interviewees and to learn directly from those providing services.
  • Focus Groups: We routinely conduct observations of program activities or community events to learn first-hand how services are provided or how community members interact with and engage in activities.
  • Observations: We routinely conduct observations of program activities and community events, to learn firsthand how services are provided and how community members interact with and engage in program activities.
  • Ethnographic Studies: SPR has completed numerous ethnographic studies, in which we work with an individual who is native to a community to identify appropriate individuals to interview and appropriate events to attend in an effort to immerse ourselves in the life of the community.

We frequently work with foundations and government agencies to help them increase their capacity to serve their clients or more effectively award grants. Among the other types of methods we have used include:

  • Developmental Evaluations
  • Cluster/Initiative Evaluations
  • Collaborative Process and Planning Evaluations
  • Logic Model and Theory-of-Change Development Assessments
  • Participatory Evaluations
  • Support in designing funding strategies and special initiatives
  • Utilization-Focused Evaluations

SPR has a national reputation for conducting rigorous research using culturally appropriate methods and being culturally responsive in all aspects of our work. This includes understanding of the role of a researcher within a given cultural setting, the interaction between race, gender, socioeconomic class, sexual identity, and other issues of power among funders, evaluators, and community members within the evaluation environment, and working with clients to establish culturally sensitive approaches to answer critical questions about diversity and inclusion practices and equity outcomes.

For more information, or to discuss potential projects, please contact:

Andrew Wiegand

Andrew Wiegand

President, CEO, and Principal