In Search of Resources and Data Sources on Parents’ Search and Selection of Early Care and Education (ECE) and Consumer Education

Opportunity to share information about available products and data sources from your research on parents’ ECE search and selection and consumer education.

The information you share will inform the Consumer Education and Parental Choice in Early Care and Education project funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The project will examine how parents search for and make decisions about ECE (e.g., child care, preschool, public prekindergarten, and Head Start), with particular attention to:

  • Motivation for ECE searches;
  • ECE preferences and needs;
  • Where parents seek information and ultimately find information about ECE;
  • Sources of information used in ECE decisions;
  • Use of consumer education materials and resources;
  • What parents think about their ECE options and how they view or rate qualities of different ECE settings;
  • How parents use information to make decisions about ECE (i.e., evaluation criteria such as weighing preferences and constraints);
  • Key factors influencing families’ ECE choices;
  • Barriers and constraints affecting ECE decisions;
  • Variation in ECE needs, preferences, searches, and decisions by key demographic or place-based characteristics; and
  • Interventions targeting parental ECE awareness and decision-making.

We invite you to share your relevant work.

Examples include:

  • Research and evaluation reports and briefs;
  • Journal manuscripts, published or under review;
  • White papers, discussion papers, or theoretical papers on the topic of consumer education or ECE search and selection;
  • Conceptual frameworks;
  • Evaluation logic models; and
  • Available ECE survey and program administrative data we could analyze.

We are interested in literature and studies from all disciplines: human development, early education, family science, behavioral science, economics, social work, public policy, public health, communications, commercial marketing, etc. If you have found research in other fields about similar decision-making processes that you think could be helpful to understand ECE search and selection, please share.

Submitted materials may be referenced in publicly available documents developed during the course of the project.

Please send all materials and inquiries, along with your contact information, to cepc@urban.org by March 31, 2021. Please include URL information if available.

This work is being led by NORC at the University of Chicago and the Urban Institute.