Research and Evaluation and Technical Assistance

The country’s health, education, and other public initiatives require rigorous evaluation designs to ensure that their development and implementation phases remain aligned with program and service goals. Effective evaluation plans must be grounded in evidence-based research and practice—while being flexible enough to respond to shifting priorities and emerging practices in the field. Synergy’s doctorate-and masters-level researchers and evaluators develop the most appropriate evaluation designs using state-of-the art sampling, data collection, and analysis methods to answer critical questions and guide future program decisions. We have successfully applied these methods at the community, state, regional, and federal levels.

Synergy’s research and evaluation professionals provide state-of-the-art, rigorous, cost-effective designs and methods. We emphasize collaboration as we support evidence-based programs around the country with data that helps them improve performance and build capacity. Our team includes researchers, statisticians, and epidemiologists with a broad range of subject matter expertise in areas such as public health and education.

Synergy’s evaluation team designs needs assessments; experimental and quasi-experimental studies; trend, gap, and cost-benefit analyses; environmental scans; and case studies using the methods most appropriate for the program. Our data collection approaches include:

  • Site visits
  • Focus groups
  • Cognitive interviews
  • Multimodal surveys, including online surveys
  • Geostatistical mapping
  • Literature reviews
  • Environmental scans

In addition, our research and evaluation designs and methods build in compliance with Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirements and standards.

Our analytic skills range from the quantitative—such as national estimates using complex survey and sampling design, experiments embedded in complex surveys, appropriate tests of significance, and multivariate data analyses—to qualitative approaches, such as content analysis, coding of open-ended questions, and focus groups. We bring rigor and objectivity to all our work by following the position statements on ethical and cultural competency set forth by the American Educational Research Association, the American Evaluation Association, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers (AAPOR).

Synergy develops technical assistance (TA) strategies that include powerful and diverse resources and dissemination vehicles. We believe the foundation of effective TA is close collaboration with clients so that we can identify the activities and tools that will best strengthen programs and improve service quality.

Our proven approach to comprehensive TA is built on four key components:

  • Knowledge collection and management
  • Knowledge creation and product development
  • Knowledge transfer and dissemination
  • Project management and evaluation

Synergy’s scaled and flexible TA can provide:

  • Targeted services that focus on specific groups, delivered through webinars, conferences, site visits, and other approaches
  • Intensive services that address specific issues
  • Broad dissemination of information and resources to policy makers, administrators, practitioners, and families
  • In-person training and skill building

Our custom-built TA strategies consider adult learning practices and are based on the needs of the target audience. Additionally, we have the flexibility to respond to ad hoc needs and requests, provide continuous refinement of services, and offer sustained TA when needed.