In the execution of its charge the Office of Research subscribes to a number of practice principles:
- Research and evaluation need to be developmentally sound – appropriate activities depend on a program’s stage of development: from establishing the need for a program and planning it, through pilot implementation and adjustment, full implementation and efficacy, to dissemination, management, quality assurance and ongoing quality improvement.
- Methods need to be responsive to key stakeholders’ needs and perspectives.
- Questions should come before answers – and appropriate methods are the ones that are responsive to what we need to know and what we want to learn, as well as when we need to know it.
- “Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise.” (John Tukey)
- Mixed methods combining rigorous qualitative and quantitative approaches can provide important insights and lend themselves to different uses and audiences.
- “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.” (Yogi Berra)