Kristin Abner on The Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse: An Online Tool to Support Evaluation

Greetings! My name is Dr. Kristin Abner, and I work at ICF International, a consulting firm offering professional services and technology-based solutions to government and commercial clients. I work in the Education, Community & Social Programs Division of ICF’s Social & Analytic Solutions Group. I’d like to share a relevant resource to evaluators, as well as human service professionals and policymakers. Professionally, it’s a project that I work on, and personally, a project that I could have used time and again during graduate school…when a professor asked me to compile literature around a specific topic. The Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse (SSRC) is an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. The SSRC houses an extensive and ever-growing virtual library of peer-reviewed research, evaluation studies, policy briefs, and other high quality resource materials across many domains of self-sufficiency, such as housing and community development. It also offers a forum for dialogue among and between researchers, practitioners, and policymakers, and others who work in the self-sufficiency, employment, family, and child well-being arenas. Whether you are conducting a review of research about food insecurity, developing a practice guide on TANF, or analyzing data on the Supplemental Poverty Measure, the SSRC can help support and enhance those efforts.

Hot Tips:

  • The SSRC Library includes over 5500 self-sufficiency resources that can be filtered by topic, subtopic, keyword, year, publisher, geographic focus, research methodology, and/or target population. These filters can help evaluators and those interested in evaluation find research with similar analytic methods. I find the search feature helpful when I am compiling a literature review and want to view all resources that include a randomized control trial in the area of food assistance, for example. I also love how the Library has a citation assistance tool!
  • The SSRC’s “Browse Topics” section includes resources in each of its topic areas that highlights research and resources recommended by the SSRC Library Team. So, if you want the seminal research or most relevant resource in a topical area, you can start there. This might be helpful for grant writers looking for a data or proof point on a topic to enhance their proposal.
  • The SSRC also has a section on how to Use Data– which includes tools and tips for understanding and applying research methodologies and datasets. It also list datasets relevant to self-sufficiency and poverty. You may want to pull datasets to run statistical analyses or assess the types of information national surveys collect relating to self-sufficiency or poverty before planning an evaluation.

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