Research and Evaluation


Optimal Solutions Group is dedicated to providing real-time data and solutions to decision-makers dealing with rapid change.

Instead of looking back on why a project succeeded or failed, Optimal’s data evaluation and analysis services are designed to provide continuous feedback that allows for course corrections even as a program is ongoing. We call this design that allows for concurrent data collection, analysis and reporting our “Real-Time Framework.”

With a focus on multidisciplinary design, Optimal is experienced in rigorous methods, has proven technologies, and abides by human subjects, security and accessibility guidelines to provide timely, evidence-based reporting for programs, partners, and public stakeholders.

Our in-house staff of social scientists have expertise spanning diverse disciplines, including workforce development, welfare reform, education policy, and child welfare and economic development policy.


Policy and Program Evaluation

  • Rigorous impact evaluation using experimental, quasi-experimental, and non-experimental design to create evidence of what works to inform program and activity design
  • Performance evaluation, monitoring and evaluation, and continuous quality improvement analysis to provide assessments of performance within the program cycle
  • Rapid-cycle evaluation to provide real-time updates on program performance
  • Process evaluation to understand the scope and design of projects
  • Implementation analysis to assess whether the treatment has been delivered with fidelity to its original design
  • Environmental analysis, climate-risk screening, and sustainability analysis to assess the impact of climate change
  • Political economy and governance analysis to assess the state of the democratic process
  • Culturally competent, gender-inclusive, and sustainability-minded approach to evaluation design
Statistical and Econometric Analysis
  • Multiple linear regression modeling
    • Cross-sectional, time-series, and longitudinal/panel-data modeling
    • Hierarchical linear modeling
    • Regression discontinuity
    • Propensity score matching
    • Instrument variable design
  • Experienced in using SAS, STATA, R, SPSS, and Python
Qualitative Analysis
  • In-depth structure, semi-structured, and unstructured key informant interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Literature reviews and environmental scans
  • Systematic review of data and documentation to support desk reviews
  • Case studies
  • Experienced in using NVivo and Atlas.ti software to facilitate qualitative analysis
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
  • Supervised and unsupervised machine-learning algorithm training for pattern recognition and predictive analytics
    • Natural language-processing algorithm training
    • Image recognition algorithm training
    • Decision tree models for feature selection and outcome prediction
  • Experienced in using Neural Networks, Python, Torch, Café, Tensorflow, Keras, Google Cloud Platform, and Amazon Web Services
Economic, Cost, and Investment Analysis
  • Ex ante, ex post, and in-medias res cost effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis
  • Deterministic economic modeling with complex Markov chains and Monte Carlo simulation design
  • Public finance management
  • Public sector investment analysis
  • Return on investment analysis
Large-scale Survey Administration
  • Develop multi-stage, complex survey methodology with clustered and stratified random sampling design
  • Develop, test, and pilot data collection instruments
  • Recruit, train, and lead large survey data collection teams
  • Use real-time survey tools within the ReveloTM suite that allow offline tablet and mobile-based data collection
  • Use real-time survey tools to check skip patterns, track geographic locations, and monitor data entry for outliers, thus providing quality assurance and timely course corrections in the field
  • Reporting progress of data collection in real-time to stakeholders
Knowledge Creation, Management, and Dissemination
  • Develop standards for data quality, completeness, and documentation
  • Develop tool kits and guidance documentation for data collection, preparation, and submission
  • Develop standardized data-collection tools to be used by communities of research practice
  • Develop technical briefs that synthesize primary project and activity-level data and research findings to inform strategy level performance
  • Lead trainings, capacity-building workshops, and professional development activities to train stakeholders on how to correctly use data and evidence from the field to inform policy decisions
  • Develop centralized, web-based data and knowledge product repositories
  • Disseminate knowledge products through the web
Communications services
  • Conference planning
  • Publication preparation
  • Web design and development
  • Database development and maintenance
  • Information dissemination
  • Video conferencing and webinars