During the first two years of this project, the Principal Investigators concentrated on planning experiments in which whole groups (e.g., classrooms, schools, neighborhoods, housing projects) are assigned at random to receive a promising intervention. In collaboration with the Foundation, the investigators have conducted a series of workshops, developed software, disseminated papers, and engaged in extensive consultation in order to build the capacity of applied social scientists to plan these studies. The ideas and tools the investigators have developed are now widely available and widely used in the planning of such studies. The next phase of the work will focus on three extensions of the previous work: the measurement and analysis of group processes that are believed to mediate program effects on youth outcomes; the analysis of youth outcome data; and the collection and dissemination of new empirical evidence useful in study planning. The investigators will also prepare two papers on design topics and continue developing current lines of work: the ongoing improvement of software for study planning; consultation with researchers planning experiments, and dissemination of ideas and methods through workshops.
This is a special initiative at the Foundation, developed with the Principal Investigators to increase the capacity of practicing social scientists to design and carry out credible group-based intervention studies.