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INQUIRE: Quality Initiatives Research and Evaluation Consortium


The Quality Initiatives Research and Evaluation Consortium (INQUIRE) focuses on the research and evaluation of quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) and other quality improvement initiatives and is designed to facilitate the identification of issues and the development and exchange of information and resources.

The purpose of the INQUIRE Workgroup is to support high quality, policy-relevant research and evaluation on QRIS and other quality improvement initiatives by providing a learning community and resources to support researchers. An additional purpose is to provide input and information to state administrators, policymakers, and practitioners on evaluation strategies, new research, interpretation of research results, and implications of new research for practice.

This project is funded through the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and managed through a contract with Child Trends.

Key Topics

Products and Relevant Research

INQUIRE Products and Relevant Research

Best Practices in Ensuring Data Quality in QRIS
OPRE Research Brief 2014-47
Sarah Friese, Kathryn Tout, Gretchen Kirby

Reviewing and Clarifying Goals, Outcomes and Levels of Implementation: Toward the Next Generation of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)
OPRE Research Brief 2014-75
Martha Zaslow, Kathryn Tout

Examining the Associations Between Infant/Toddler Workforce Preparation, Program Quality and Child Outcomes: A Review of the Research Evidence
OPRE Research Brief #2016-15
Dale Epstein, Tamara Halle, Shannon Moodie, Laura Sosinsky, Martha Zaslow

Including Relationship-Based Care Practices in Infant-Toddler Care: Implications for Practice and Policy.
OPRE Report 2016-46
Laura Sosinsky, Karen Ruprecht, Diane Horm, Kerry Kriener-Althen, Cheri Vogal, Tamara Halle

Best Practices in Creating and Adapting Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Rating Scales
OPRE Research Brief 2016-25
Margaret Burchinal, Louisa Tarullo, Martha Zaslow

Defining and Measuring Access to High-Quality Early Care and Education (ECE): A Guidebook for Policymakers and Researchers
OPRE Research Brief 2017-08
Sarah Friese, Van-Kim Lin, Nicole Forry, Kathryn Tout

Measures Used in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) Validation Studies
OPRE Research Brief 2016-110
Kathryn Tout, Rebecca Starr, Jennifer Wenner, Rowan Hilty

Validation of the Quality Ratings Used in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS): A Synthesis of State Studies
OPRE Report 2017-92
Kathryn Tout, Katherine Magnuson, Shannon Lipscomb, Lynn Karoly, Rebecca Starr, et al

Understanding and Measuring Program Engagement in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems
OPRE Research Brief 2018-84
Kathryn Tout, Sarah Friese, Rebecca Starr, Ashley Hirilall

A Conceptual Model for Quality in Home-Based Child Care
OPRE Report 2019-37
Amy Blasberg, Juliet Bromer, Courtney Nugent, Toni Porter, Eva Marie Shivers, Holli Tonyan, Kathryn Tout, Bobbie Weber

The Role of Licensing in Supporting Quality Practices in Early Care and Education
OPRE Research Brief 2019-31
Kelly Maxwell, Rebecca Starr

Measuring Readiness for Change in Early Care and Education
OPRE Research Brief 2019-63
Tamara Halle, Anne Partika, Kerensa Nagle

INQUIRE Data Tools


Kathryn Tout (
Vice President for Early Childhood Research and Partnerships, Child Trends

Kelly Maxwell (
Senior Program Area Director, Early Childhood Development, Child Trends