Westat Enhances Its Social Science Evaluation Capabilities

Westat continues its leadership in social science evaluation research by bringing on Stephen H. Bell, Ph.D., and Robert B. Olsen, Ph.D., to contribute their scholarship and expertise to Westat projects. Both experts have had wide-ranging careers in supporting clients, including the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Social Security Administration.

Dr. Bell, a Westat Senior Statistical Fellow and Vice President, is an internationally known expert on the design, implementation, and analysis of rigorous impact evaluations to inform policy decisions. He specializes in econometric impact analysis, pressing scientific methods forward to reveal more about what works in social policy. He has helped design many large-scale social experiments using random assignment in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Dr. Bell is also an expert in using quasi-experimental estimation techniques when randomization is not possible. His recent work has focused on experimental trials of employment assistance, housing and nutrition interventions, and international agricultural development initiatives.

Dr. Olsen is an Associate Director at Westat, a national expert on designing and implementing rigorous impact evaluations in education, and an expert on the evidence standards used to judge the rigor of educational evaluations. He has provided leadership on major studies of educational programs, particularly those designed to improve college access and completion in disadvantaged populations. Dr. Olsen has published papers, book chapters, and technical reports on a range of methodological issues, including random assignment designs, selection bias, attrition bias, generalizability, and missing data methods.

At Westat, Dr. Bell and Dr. Olsen will build on Westat’s impact evaluation capabilities, leading efforts with key Federal clients, such as the U.S. Department of Education and the Social Security Administration, as well as nonprofits and universities.

“Westat staff are excited to be able to work closely with two such eminent scientists in the evaluation field. We look forward to providing our clients with the best possible evidence-based solutions from our talented evaluation team,” notes Scott Royal, Ph.D., Westat President.

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