Semistructured interviews involve an interviewer asking some prespecified, open-ended questions, with follow-up questions based on what the interviewee has to say. This Reflections on Methodology post describes a semistructured interview protocol recently used to explore how children who experience poverty perceive their situations, their economic status, and public benefit programs.
A voluntary program in San Francisco arranged interviews for disadvantaged job-seekers and offered employers temporary wage subsidies to hire them. This study analyzes the one-year, per person program costs and the cost of non-program services, including education and training. The analysis indicates that the program was likely cost-beneficial from society’s perspective.
This study analyzes the per person cost of a subsidized employment program for enrollees in Minnesota’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families who could not otherwise find employment, and the costs of other services that all sample members may have received. The program’s primary goal was to move participants into unsubsidized employment.
This paper analyzes variation in the medium-term effects of the oversubscribed Boston Public Schools prekindergarten program. Prekindergarten gains persisted if kids applied to and won a seat in a higher-quality elementary school.
A Scan of the Literature and Current Approaches
Low-income and minority children suffer disproportionately from asthma. This review examines efforts to improve education and self-management, remediate asthma “triggers” at home, and improve health care provider practice. It concludes that asthma management education; proper, sustained medication regimes; cost-effective, replicable programs; and steady funding are all critical for addressing health disparities.
Using data from the Head Start Impact Study, this paper examines variation in Head Start effects across individual children, policy-relevant subgroups of children, and Head Start centers. It finds that past estimates of the average effect of Head Start programs mask a wide range of relative program effectiveness.
Design Options for an Evaluation of Head Start Coaching
Using a study of coaching in Head Start as an example, this report reviews potential experimental design options that get inside the “black box” of social interventions by estimating the effects of individual components. It concludes that factorial designs are usually most appropriate.
This report provides recommendations for an evaluation of coaching that may impact teacher and classroom practices in Head Start and other early childhood settings — including about the research questions; the design of the impact study, implementation research, and cost analysis; and logistical challenges for carrying out the design.
Using an alternative to classical statistics, this paper reanalyzes results from three published studies of interventions to increase employment and reduce welfare dependency. The analysis formally incorporates prior beliefs about the interventions, characterizing the results in terms of the distribution of possible effects, and generally confirms the earlier published findings.
After one year, CEO’s transitional jobs program generated a large but short-lived increase in employment for ex-prisoners. A subgroup of recently released prisoners showed positive effects on recidivism: They were less likely to have their parole revoked, to be convicted of a felony, and to be reincarcerated than the control group.