As part of our new Strategic Plan, we have just released the Department’s first-ever Learning Agenda. Over the coming months and years, the Learning Agenda will drive new investments in research, evaluation, data science, statistical analysis, and other forms of scientific evidence building. We will use the results of this work to make evidence-based, data-driven decisions affecting many of the Department’s highest-priority policies and programs, as envisioned by the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018.
The Learning Agenda is built around a set of 28 priority questions, which represent evidence gaps that arose as we developed the Strategic Plan. These questions came from across the Department and reflect the broad scope of the Department’s work. Topics include fraud and public corruption, terrorism, violent crime, criminal justice reform, accountability in law enforcement, hate crimes, cyber threats, immigration courts, and reentry of formerly incarcerated individuals to communities around the country.
Each of these questions is designed to drive new research and analysis, and the evidence we build by answering these questions will inform important decisions about law enforcement, litigation, grant making, and other essential activities under all five of the Department’s broad strategic goals. In keeping with our commitment to transparency and accountability as we invest in new research and analysis, the Learning Agenda also serves as a public document of our priorities for evidence building.
Just as identifying evidence gaps and defining priority questions was a Department-wide effort, implementing the Learning Agenda through rigorous evidence building will require significant coordination and collaboration among teams across the Department. We expect that answering these 28 questions will involve a wide variety of methods, including program evaluation, data science, statistical analysis, survey research, and other forms of rigorous scientific evidence building. We are developing concrete plans for new research and analysis, which will be reflected in an expanded version of the Learning Agenda next year.
For more information about the Learning Agenda and our other efforts under the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, please visit our Evidence and Evaluation webpage.