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APPENDIX A Research Methodology
The research approach used to develop this guide is a combination of case study methodology and benchmarking of "best practices." used in businesses worldwide as they seek to continuously improve their operations, benchmarking has more recently been applied to education. Benchmarking is a structured, efficient process that targets key operations and identifies promising practices in relationship to traditional practice, previous practice at the selected sites (lessons learned), and local outcome data. This methodology is further explained in a background document34 that lays out the justification for identifying promising practices based on four sources of rigor in the approach:
- Theory and research base;
- Expert review;
- Site evidence of effectiveness; and
- Systematic field research and cross-site analysis.
The steps of the research process were: defining a study scope, seeking input from an advisory group of experts to refine the scope and inform site selection criteria, screening potential sites, selecting sites to study, conducting site visits, collecting and analyzing data to write case reports, and writing a user-friendly guide.