Polaris Research and Development, Inc. is a social science research and consulting organization. Polaris was founded as a sole proprietorship in 1979 and designated an approved SBA Section 8(a) subcontractor by the Department of Commerce from 1980 through 1987. Polaris was also certified as a minority business enterprise by the states of California, and Massachusetts, the cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and the District of Columbia, and the Public Utilities Commission of California from 1985 through 1995.

Polaris provides evaluation and survey research design and implementation, policy research support, consultation and technical assistance and training to policy makers and service providers involved in the key social, economic and development issues confronting federal, state and local governments agencies, foundations, associations and community-based organizations, Indian tribes and Native Alaskan communities, and private industry.

Staff members of Polaris are specialists in the fields of public health and mental health, tobacco control and cessation, education, children and youth and families, juvenile and criminal justice, employment and training policy, HIV/AIDS education and prevention and treatment, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, homelessness, and pre and perinatal support. They include: educators, health and mental health professionals, sociologists, attorneys, criminologists, statisticians, film makers, designers, and trainers. The remainder of this page will focus upon our considerable evaluation experience.

Philosophy Experience Staff Services Equipment Past and Future Projects


Polaris believes that the core purpose of evaluation research is to support decision making--to provide decisionmakers with the kinds of information they need to make wise decisions in a timely manner. To facilitate effective decision making the Polaris evaluation staff defines the questions that are central to each decision, specifies data needs and sources, collects and analyzes the data, formats it for efficient utilization, and assists clients in interpretation and use of the data in making policy, program, and resource allocation decisions.


In the past fifteen years Polaris evaluation research staff has conducted over fifty policy and program evaluations, needs and risk assessments, and trends analysis studies. One third of the studies were national in scope and almost half of those were multi-site efforts--involving as many as twenty-eight sites simultaneously. Several were multi-year studies. Federal clients have included the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Community Services Administration, the United States Fire Administration, the National Institute of Education, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Other clients included State agencies in California, Washington, Colorado, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Nebraska; County agencies in over ten California counties; school districts and institutions of higher education; foundations and non-profit organizations; and for-profit corporations.


The staff and associates of Polaris' Evaluation Research Unit include criminologists, sociologists, psychologists, economists, social workers, ethnographers, anthropologists, health planners, attorneys, city and regional planners, and media specialists. Staff of the unit are trained and experienced in all forms of quantitative and qualitative research, bringing to the task of evaluation not only substantive expertise but knowledge and experience in designing evaluation research studies and data management systems. They are expert in the use of a variety of field data collection methods including mail and telephone survey research techniques, interviews, structured observations and other non-intrusive methods, secondary data analyses, literature reviews and data source scanning and trend monitoring.

The analysis staff is fully experienced in the use of a wide variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques including time series analysis; multivariate analytic techniques such as multiple regression models and path analyses, factor and cluster analyses, analysis of variance and co-variance, discriminate analysis, and canonical correlation; trend extrapolation; cross-impact analysis; simulation modeling; and scenario development.


The staff of Polaris Research and Development's Evaluation Research Unit provides three types of evaluation research services for public and private sector clients:

1. Policy and Program Evaluations

2. Assessments

Need Assessments
Replicability Assessments
Political, Social, and Technological Risk Assessments

3. Trend Scanning and Analysis


Extensive microcomputer capabilities and a staff of six data processors allow Polaris to conduct the analytic tasks associated with most projects on an in-house basis. In those instances where large sample sizes require it, Polaris has access to both an IBM 3081 that utilizes CMS and a Vax 780 that utilizes a UNIX operating system.

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