Across government agencies, public officials are engaging in activities to facilitate building and using evidence to inform decision-making for improving business decisions, program outcomes, and day-to-day operations that affect the American people. The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act) set expectations for government agencies to improve their capacity to engage in data-driven and evidence-informed decision- making. A core feature of the Evidence Act is establishing the leadership positions for data, evaluation, and statistical officials, staffing infrastructure, and processes that enable government agencies to increasingly construct and use evidence to inform policy decisions. The first three years of Evidence Act implementation were focused on developing multi-year learning agendas with key learning priorities, the establishment of senior-level officials like chief data officers and evaluation officers, and conducting capacity assessments, to understand the agency’s infrastructure and its ability to produce and use evidence for decision making.
The Data Foundation’s 2022 Virtual Research Symposium, in partnership with George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School for Public Policy and Public Administration, provided the opportunity for researchers, data analysts, evaluators, program managers, and other experts from across the data and evidence community to share knowledge and innovative practices. The Research Symposium highlighted strategies that increase the use of data and evidence for decision-making and a better-informed society. The 2022 Symposium theme focused on assessing capacity for using data to build actionable evidence, aligning with the new publication of assessments federal agencies published in Spring 2022 about their own capacity for engaging in evidence-building activities and other major initiatives of Evidence Act implementation underway in government today.
The Data Foundation invited members of the data and evidence community—including those in academia, non-profits, industry, and government—to submit proposals that align with the conference theme, with preference given to those that focus on the following topics:
Analysis of agency capacity assessments: Research and analyses on agency evidence capacity assessments produced under the Evidence Act and published in Spring 2022. These could include quantitative and qualitative assessments, reviews, or other synopses to identify core themes, strengths, and gaps in agency capacity for evidence-informed policymaking.
Reviews of Agency Evidence-Building Plans and Learning Agendas: Research, analysis, and examples that review agency processes, questions, and plans—including implementation—to identify innovative or promising practices. These can include stakeholder engagement, participation among key constituencies and vulnerable populations, and processes that adequately communicate data and evidence needs from government agencies. Consideration may also be given to lessons learned from how agencies produced and are using initial plans and agendas in practice
Workforce for evidence-building activities: Examples of challenges in and solutions for supporting the growing need for a data literate workforce in public sector organizations. The Data Foundation’s surveys of chief data officers and evaluation officials separately suggest major gaps in workforce capacity. Are there examples of training programs in public sector organizations that have increased data literacy? Are there examples of agency data that could support research in addressing gaps, what research is available, and what policy improvements can be built from this research?
Novel uses of data for decision and policymaking: Examples of unique, highly-salient use cases where quantitative data or qualitative data (e.g., descriptive data from ethnographies, interviews, or observation) were used or linked to administrative data for research, policymaking, or decision-making. Examples should draw on successful use cases, unsuccessful use cases and the lessons learned, or promising practices. Examples should highlight any methodological issues and describe how they were (or could have been) overcome with an eye toward informing capacity assessments in government agencies.
10:00 a.m. – Opening Remarks
10:10 a.m. – Informing Infrastructure Improvement Decision-making with the Best Available Science
10:25 a.m. – An Iterative Approach to Developing, Conducting, and Using the Department of Homeland Security Capacity Assessment
11:25 a.m. – BREAK (5 minutes)
11:30 a.m. – Understanding Human Capital Needs for Expanding Data and Evidence Culture Using a Federal Data and Digital Maturity Survey
11:45 a.m. – An FAA Experience: Applying Intervention Research as a Change Management Approach to Implement Evidence-Based Management
12:00 p.m. – BREAK (30 minutes)
12:30 p.m. – Welcome Back
12:35 p.m. – Advancing Equity through Evidence-Building, Data Integration, and Research Partnerships: A Local Government’s View from “The Other Washington”
1:35 p.m. – Assessing the Quality of Impact Evaluations at USAID
1:50 p.m. – BREAK (5 minutes)
1:55 p.m. – Approaches to Assessing Agency Capacity for Evidence Building
2:55 p.m. – Opportunity for Partnership – A Budget and Program Perspective on the Learning Agenda and Evidence Building Activities
3:55 p.m. – Closing Remarks
10:10 a.m. – Education Research-Practice Partnerships: Innovative Structures to Build and Use Evidence
10:25 a.m. – Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems and Predictive Analytics: Understanding, Measuring, and Predicting K12 Outcomes
11:30 a.m. – Using Linked Administrative Data to Connect Families to Pandemic Stimulus Payments
11:45 a.m. – Using a Framework for Evidence Capacity to Strengthen Federal Program Offices
12:35 p.m. – Critical Factors for Building Successful Data Science Teams
12:50 p.m. – Advocating for and Applying COVID-19 Equity Data: The Black Equity Coalition’s (Pittsburgh, PA) Efforts to Improve Public-Sector Health Agencies’ Practices
1:55 p.m. – A dynamic, inclusive approach to learning agenda development for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CSTLTS): Reflections on the stakeholder engagement process
2:10 p.m. – Best Practices for Monitoring and Evaluating the ARP, IIJA and Other Programs: Report of the Department of Commerce Data Governance Working Group
3:10 p.m. – Closing Remarks
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