Tufts Interdisciplinary Evaluation Research (TIER) is composed of a team of independent researchers from the Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. TIER is committed to conducting high-quality, collaborative evaluation research that contributes to expanding usable knowledge in fields such as Applied Developmental Science and Policy Science to improve policies and programs for children, families, and communities.
Our evaluation research is rooted in Jacobs’s Five-tiered Approach to evaluation, a developmental model that moves evaluation activities from a primary focus on descriptive and process-oriented information to an emphasis on program effects. Tier One activities produce needs and demand assessments, and usually are conducted prior to the program’s implementation. Evaluation activities at Tiers Two and Three are directed at program processes: they describe program staff, services, clients, and costs; examine program implementation compared to model standards; and provide feedback to programs for improvement. Tiers Four and Five focus on outcome evaluation activities, assessing the extent to which a program is meeting its short-term and long-term goals. The primary difference between Tier Four and Tier Five is the use of an experimental design in Tier Five; when such scientific rigor is possible, researchers are more confident that changes they observe in participants are the result of the intervention being studied.