Most policies and practices—such as how we educate our children, deliver healthcare, rehabilitate incarcerated individuals, or house those without homes—have never been methodically tested. Conducting rigorous evaluation research has traditionally involved academic researchers, government funders, and bureaucratic red tape that can delay implementation and inhibit dissemination of findings. As a result, many policies intended to make us smarter, safer, or healthier are not tested and are not based on empirical data.
By promoting a more scientific approach, BetaGov's goal is to significantly increase the pace of learning within health services, social services, criminal justice, education, and other domains to identify what works and what doesn't.
The private sector has long relied on simple, pragmatic randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to improve efficiency and performance. BetaGov supports the use of these same techniques to inform policy solutions for today’s most challenging health and social problems.
Who We Are
BetaGov helps policymakers and government agencies promote innovation in the public sector. Our team includes psychologists, economists, policy experts, clinical researchers, statisticians, and consultants with decades of experience planning and conducting RCTs and collaborating with stakeholders in the field. Supported initially by funding from Give Well and Good Ventures, and by subsequent funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and the Smith Richardson Foundation, our services are provided at no cost to users.
What We Do
BetaGov engages the experience, expertise, and initiative of our practitioner partners and their clients to help them identify local problems and develop local solutions. Our team helps practitioners:
- Determine whether an idea is feasible for an RCT.
- Determine that the trial meets ethical guidelines and level of supervisory oversight requirements.
- Clearly articulate study aims and hypotheses.
- Identify essential trial components (e.g., design, sample, measures, procedures).
- Determine what data will be used for analysis.
- Identify data-collection tools.
- Prepare a trial protocol to outline what will be done and how.
- Train the field team to support in-house trial implementation.
- Determine appropriate statistical and data-analysis approaches.
- Clean data, prepare frequency tables, and conduct analyses of trial data.
- Educate practitioners about RCTs through “Pracademia” training.
- Prepare regulatory applications and trial registration.
- Prepare written and oral presentations of trial results.