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Research Services

We are committed to working closely with our clients from project start to finish to assure that their research project produces cost-effective results that are both accurate and usable.

All research, whether evaluation, needs assessment or clinical and basic science, must proceed through four phases: design and planning, data collection, data analysis and reporting. We can provide support and consultation for each of these phases.

Behavioral research is expensive and commonly requires financial support from outside sources. We have many years of experience in successfully packaging contract and grant proposals in behavioral health research. Collaborative proposal development is one of our more important value added services.

Research Design and Planning


Quality research -- research that efficiently produces clear, useful results -- starts with quality research questions. Every step in the research process builds upon those questions. No matter how meticulously each subsequent step is performed, fuzzy questions will lead to fuzzy results.

So what is a quality research question? Ideally, in the context of behavior, it is one that leads to a meaningful, unambiguous answer based on data that can be accurately collected from real-world populations. In behavioral research, it is rarely possible to fully achieve this ideal. There are nearly always gaps between the concept and the measurement, the population and the sample and very, very rarely can a finding exclude all but a single explanation.

The design and planning of behavioral research is, at its best, a conscious, iterative process of balancing what "needs" to be assessed against what "can" be assessed within the context of the research goals, resource constraints and maximizing cost-effectiveness.

With clear questions in mind, research design becomes a relatively straightforward technical exercise in determining the best fiscally and logistically feasible plans for sampling and measurement. From the possible research designs, one must look honestly back and forth between the plans and the question to see whether the data collected will, in the end, provide adequate answers to the questions, make adjustments as needed, then, finally, decide "is this worth doing?" After all, collecting data that fails to address the question at hand does little other than waste time and money.

We provide support services for each step in this process:

Question development:
  • Helping frame research questions to meet stakeholder needs -- it is rare that questions designed to meet the needs of the basic science community also meet all of the needs of the service planning community. Questions need to be framed with the end-users of the research in mind.
  • Helping to develop the logical structure of the questions so that the data collected can provide the least ambiguous answers.
  • Helping to develop operational definitions of the concepts in the research questions. In other words, translating the abstract ideas in the research questions into characteristics that can be accurately and repeatably assessed in people (or animals) in the real world.
Measurement design:
  • Questionnaire and/or observation schedule selection and development to maximize the efficiency with which data are collected to address the research questions
  • Measurement pilot testing and validation to assure that the study accurately measures what it intends to measure with minimal bias
  • Measurement sequence design
  • Subject follow-up planning
Sampling design:
  • Population definition to assure that the data collected refer to the same groups as the questions
  • Sample selection to assure that the data collected are representative of the populations of interest
  • Sample size and power calculation to optimize resource utilization
  • Sample weighting design, when appropriate, so that estimates from the study accurately reflect values in the target population
Statistical design:
  • Analysis planning to formally map the the data collected to the research questions
Data management design:
  • Data element definition
  • Database design
  • Programming of double-key entry and optical mark reading (scan form) systems.

Data Collection


At this time, we do not provide direct data collection services. We do, however, partner with other organizations with extensive data collection experience and capabilities, including Emory University, Research Triangle Institute and Perceptive Market Research/Florida Research Institute.

Data Management, Statistical Analysis and Modeling

We use a variety of software tools including the SAS, S-Plus, Stata, SUDAAN, LISREL, EQS and SPSS statistical packages and the Clipper database programming language for developing bullet-proof data entry systems.
  • Data entry and validation
  • Data summaries
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Modelling and extrapolation
  • Exploratory data analysis (after the primary questions have been addressed)



No matter how carefully designed and meticulously executed a research project is, unless it is clearly reported in a format accessible by its target audience, a research project will have little impact. We work closely with our clients to define the target audience and to develop an understanding of the proper level of technical and quantitative sophistication for presentation of the results. In policy-oriented research, where the end-users are generally decision makers with limited technical expertise, it is critical that presentation of the results be clear, concise and comprehensible without sacrificing accuracy and technical correctness.

Standards of Practice

We find that the most eloquent expression of the standards by which we conduct our business in two sources:

The Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice of the American Statistical Association, and

The ANSI Program Evaluation Standards

Questions? E-mail us at


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