Maximizing the statistical and scientific rigor of the Institute’s public policy data collection and analysis

Our Issues

The Urban Institute conducts a vast array of research projects that include observational studies, model-based analyses, simulation analyses, and program evaluations, as well as qualitative studies. These policy research studies can explore patterns across subpopulations or geographic areas, forecast future patterns, or evaluate the impact of a policy. By identifying good practices for quantitative and qualitative research, the Statistical Methods Group helps ensure that Urban’s data and methods are sufficiently strong to allow for objective and evidence-based inferences and recommendations.

Our Approach

The Statistical Methods Group pursues its mission through a threefold strategy of enabling, partnering, and leading.

  • Enabling: We offer statistical consulting to Urban researchers at all staff levels, conduct informative seminars on methodology, and mentor staff.
  • Partnering: We serve as coprincipal investigators, senior advisors, and task leaders on projects. We also help with proposal development.
  • Leading: We provide leadership on research methods within Urban; give media interviews and release statements on pressing statistical matters; and serve on national scientific research efforts, including National Academies panels and Scientific Advisors.

Our Methods

  • We maximize the statistical and scientific rigor of the Institute’s public policy data collection and analysis. We work with staff from all Urban Institute policy centers on data processing and protocols; survey design and analysis; and research design, innovation, and efficiency.
  • Our areas of expertise include survey design and methodology, survey statistics, statistical inference, statistical modeling, and experimental and quasi-experimental design for program evaluation. We also provide expertise in qualitative research design, implementation, and analysis.
  • Our staff members are recognized national leaders in the research industry and regularly provide expert advice and service to the National Academies and the federal statistical agencies.

Our Impact

Our dedication to studying methodologies lends capacity to Urban researchers to pursue a broader range of research, experiment with new studies for complex issues, and show leadership among other researchers and institutions.