REL Northeast & Islands


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Analytic Technical Support

REL Northeast and Islands provides a range of analytic technical services. While many of our research products are useful to a wide range of audiences, our efforts are tailored to the specific needs of our research alliances and their data use capacities to inform decision-making. Services may include:

Develop and Deliver Workshops

Workshops to meet the needs of multiple audiences, including researchers and analytic staff, policymakers, and practitioners on topics such as defining a coherent research agenda, aligning data elements across data sets, designing program/policy evaluations, creating a culture of data use, recognizing analytic considerations for using longitudinal data, and promoting practitioner use of data.

Catalogue Available Data

We may help develop data catalogues that document what data elements exist, where they are housed, what entity manages the collection and the quality audit process for those elements, and what common data elements might be used to merge data.

Prepare Long-Term Plans for Data Structure and Governance

We provide analytic technical support on data governance and the creation of long-term plans to move toward more comprehensive data sets that can readily be used to examine policy questions.

Establish and Document the Process for Constructing Analytic Files Across Data Sets

Our research team provides technical expertise on how to develop and document procedures for merging and cleaning data to create analytic files. In addition, we will help alliance participants create restricted-use files for external researchers that meet Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requirements for privacy, including guidance on de-identification, category collapsing, and data swapping.

Develop Documentation to Support Data Use

We provide guidance on developing code books that explain the source, structure, and quality of each data element; training manuals that serve as “how-to” guides when using complex longitudinal data sets; and sample code and output for frequently requested analyses that illustrate proper file use.

Create a Process and Documentation for Managing External Data Use

We help research alliance members develop internal processes to manage data requests from external researchers, including a process for vetting requests, an Internal Review Board process to protect human subjects, and a process for reporting requirements to bring research findings back to the agency.

Design Additional Data Collection Efforts

We assist state and local agencies in designing instruments to collect additional data that will inform analyses on specific policy and program questions. We also provide guidance on survey implementation, data cleaning, and storage.

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