Our Capabilities

Overview

SRDC is a leader in policy experiments that rigorously test innovative program ideas or delivery processes. Policy experiments typically employ a full range of evaluation techniques to assess the implementation of an intervention and to measure its impact through high-quality methodologies like randomized assignment and quasi-experiments. SRDC’s policy experiments cover early child development, access to post-secondary education, adult learning and literacy, labour market information, employment insurance, community-based employment, welfare-to-work, population health, programs for persons with disabilities, and crime prevention.


SRDC offers a full range of evaluation services covering program development, implementation, operations, and review. Our expertise in performance measurement also allows us to respond to the growing demand for the evaluation of performance-based incentive systems related to the delivery of public services by non-governmental and private organizations.


SRDC’s expertise in survey design and data management stems from long-term tracking of participants in large-scale demonstration projects. Such projects require attention to sample design, collection tools, data cleaning, the analytical purposes of the data, and a deep respect for participants’ privacy and the physical security of confidential data.


SRDC analyzes survey and administrative datasets to identify market segments, target population characteristics and needs, behavioural patterns, and statistical relationships. The end goal is to inform clients on issues like program design, targeting, and expected outcomes. Using predictive models, SRDC has used relationships between known random variables in order to predict how an event will likely occur in the future.


Many policy questions can be answered without a formal evaluation. Such questions may relate to the need for a new program, the tools other jurisdictions have used to address a social issue, why potential clients are not making use of a program, or whether program data can support effective evaluations. SRDC applies methodologies like literature reviews, environmental scans, applied data analysis, key informant interviews, and focus groups to address such questions.


System-level analyses and reviews address some of the same questions as program evaluations, but in a broader context. For example, does a government’s suite of employment programs align with the needs of the population? SRDC’s expertise in high-quality program design, implementation, and evaluation techniques has helped it to become a trusted supplier of system-level reviews to provincial and federal government departments.


Many of today’s complex social issues require coordinated efforts by a number of organizations to achieve common goals. Collective impact evaluations help networks to refine their goals, enhance communications and operations, and assess progress and outcomes. SRDC has worked with a variety of stakeholder networks. In so doing, we have developed considerable expertise applying a collective impact framework and supporting these groups to more effectively pursue their common goals.


SRDC recognized early on that cognitive and behavioural factors can affect important outcomes like getting a job or a good education. Since 2001, SRDC has conducted several economic experiments that created controlled settings to study program participants' preferences and behaviour. We have applied this approach in several areas, including adult education, the use of labour market information, and student financial aid.


Social finance mechanisms, including social impact bonds, place a premium on high-quality program impact and performance measurement techniques, as well as comprehensive cost-benefit frameworks. These tools are required to accurately measure program outcomes that may affect returns for investors, funding agencies, and other stakeholders. SRDC has decades of experience in applying various economic and socio-economic assessment techniques. As a result, we have been retained as partners or advisors for a number of social finance interventions and as measurement experts for several social impact bonds.


SRDC is committed to ensuring that the knowledge gained through our projects can be put into action by funders, program managers, practitioners, and participants. SRDC works closely with clients to ensure that key messages reach the intended audience through the most appropriate media channels.

Given its depth of knowledge in a number of public policy realms, SRDC is frequently asked to organize and facilitate events relating to our areas of expertise. Such events may deal exclusively with SRDC research or include other subject matter experts.


SRDC’s expertise in the design, development, delivery, and evaluation of a wide range of policy interventions has made us a trusted partner of funders, service delivery organizations, policy analysts, and program participants. These relationships are evident in capacity building exercises that may be components of larger projects. SRDC has helped our partners build capacity in service delivery, data development and management, evaluation, analysis, and innovation.