Tracking Welfare Reform: Designing Followup Studies of Recipients Who Leave Welfare. Technical Issues


Using administrative data requires persistence and patience, attention to details, and familiarity with the data sources. Those with experience in using administrative records for research emphasize that one should not underestimate the time and effort it takes to clean files so that they can be used. The various data systems, including those of the welfare system from which administrative records are being extracted, were not designed with welfare evaluation purposes in mind. Because of the numerous technical issues that must be resolved, it is wise to start small with projects that can be completed at a reasonable cost in a reasonable timeframe.