Why are Evaluation Sciences important?
The Federal Government has made great strides applying and testing the impact of behavioral insights to improve federal programs, learning that small changes can lead to significantly positive outcomes for the public. Dozens of agencies have joined this effort, tackling some of the most pressing challenges in the United States and abroad with new, low-cost approaches to implementation.
What is the Office of Evaluation Sciences?
Central to this work, the Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES) is a team of applied experts from diverse fields such as economics, psychology, public health, and statistics. OES team members work directly with federal agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of new evidence-based interventions on program outcomes and enable government to make informed decisions.
Based at the General Services Administration, OES combines academic expertise with experience implementing and evaluating evidence-based interventions in complex settings.
OES aims to:
- Bring diverse scientific expertise to Federal agencies
- Apply insights about human behavior to improve Government’s interactions with people
- Test and learn what works using rigorous methods
OES sits within the Office of Government-wide policy (OGP), contributing to OGP’s mission of supporting agencies to use the most cost effective management practices for their programs, and identifying and evaluating best practices with agency partners.
What does OES look for in a potential project?
In general, a project may be a good fit if it contains:
- A clear touchpoint (e.g., a communication channel, a signup point, etc.) between the Federal agency program and an individual
- An outcome of interest depends in part on people’s actions (e.g., individuals taking up a program, making a payment, choosing among alternative health insurance plans, etc.)
- An outcome of interest that is reflected in data that is currently collected (or could be easily collected) by the Federal agency (relevant administrative data sets exist)
- A program population size that is large enough to be statistically and policy relevant
- The ability to assign groups of people to different versions of an intervention in order to compare outcomes and learn what works best (e.g., half of program recipients receive information presented in a standard way, and half in a modified, behaviorally-informed format)
- An agency collaborator willing to work alongside OES and to share results across government