Journal Article

State of the Science on Implementation Research in Early Child Development and Future Directions

By Frances E. Aboud, Aisha K. Yousafzai, & Milagros Nores

We summarize the state of the field of implementation research and practice for early child development and propose recommendations. First, conclusions are drawn regarding what is generally known about the implementation of early childhood development programs, based on papers and discussions leading to a published series on the topic. Second, recommendations for short‐term activities emphasize the use of newly published guidelines for reporting data collection methods and results for implementation processes; knowledge of the guidelines and a menu of measures allows for planning ahead. Additional recommendations include careful documentation of early‐stage implementation, such as adapting a program to a different context and assessing feasibility, as well as the process of sustaining and scaling up a program. Using existing implementation information by building on and improving past programs and translating them into policy are recommended. Longer term goals are to identify implementation characteristics of effective programs and determinants of these characteristics.

Featured in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences Special Issue.

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The Authors

Dr. Milagros Nores is the Co-Director for Research and Associate Research Professor at the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). With a profound expertise in early childhood evaluation, informing data-driven policy and programming, cost and benefits of early interventions, evaluation design, equity, and English language learners, she has established herself as a leading researcher in the field of early care and education.