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Analysis and Reporting
A research report, organized by the states and jurisdiction (Washington, D.C.) interviewed, was written to document the study process and to provide an analytic report of the data obtained in the interviews. The interview data summarized in these reports were analyzed thematically within each of the categories established through the conceptual framework for this project. This analysis appears in parts I, II, and III of this guide.
To assure the validity of the information, researchers triangulated across multiple sources. The main source of current information about policy implementation was knowledgeable individuals in each state. When possible, sources were sought across different agencies, for example, the state education agency and the charter schools organization. Multiple interviews were conducted in each state. Public documents provided a third major source of triangulation.
Drafts were reviewed by the states to confirm that the research team accurately reported the information given to them. The expert advisors also provided ongoing review of drafts to screen for information that seemed inconsistent with their knowledge of the current state of matters in a state and nationally. If reviewers raised questions, then researchers: a) checked back with the original source to clarify any mistakes in understanding, b) requested any additional written documentation that is publicly available, and c) sought additional sources of information, such as other experts in the state or individuals in a position to know about the specific form of assistance.
This descriptive research process suggests promising practices, including ways to do things that other educators have found helpful and lessons they have learned, as well as practical “on-the-ground” examples. This is not the kind of experimental research that can yield valid causal claims about what works. Readers should judge for themselves the merits of these policies and practices. Also, readers should understand that these descriptions do not constitute an endorsement of specific practices or products.