Difficult Projects

Can your customers see your greatness?

Research Design Associates works to reveal the untapped markets before you
with creative research and analysis of current and potential customers.
Research Design Associates has been executing market research and providing litigation support services for nearly three decades. In that time we’ve built an impressive client list and amassed a vast array experiences. All the while, we’ve enjoyed our work – even the most difficult assignments.

Take a second to peruse some of these difficult questions that we’ve helped answer through the years. We think you’ll be impressed with our work and hope to help you answer your difficult questions in the near future.
Not-for-Profit Organization Modernization
A successful national youth organization was faced with declining membership and a somewhat tired image. Research Design Associates undertook a multiyear evaluation of the group. Members, stakeholders, competitors, staff and volunteers were surveyed, interviewed, participated in focus groups and engaged in online debate about the organization’s place in the 21 Century. Repositioning a traditional group to the market realities of the future not-for profit was necessary for a vibrant rejuvenation. Research Design Associates recommended a panel of 36 outside experts with experience in transforming institution be enlisted to address 6 key issues essential to the organizations future. The outcome was a detailed and nuanced roadmap that fitted the organization to its electronically savvy youth members and provided concrete opportunities for the leadership and volunteers to grow and thrive.
How Profoundly Does Neighborhood Poverty Endanger the Well-Being & Development of Children & Adolescents?
Research Design Associates scientists collaborated with colleagues at Columbia University, Emory University, and Northwestern University in a longitudinal study of African American early adolescents in Atlanta, Baltimore, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

We measured the effects of individual and family demographics, measures of neighborhood risk such as family economic status, and identity measures such as self-esteem and racial identity on the extent of behavior problems. The results of this study can be found in the book published by Russell Sage Foundation (1997), Neighborhood Poverty: Context and Consequences for Children.
Meditation Health Effects
Increasing evidence suggests that meditation practice may impact physiological pathways, including the immune and neuroendocrine systems, which are modulated by stress and are relevant to disease development and progression. For example, meditation has been shown to enhance antibody production following flu vaccination and reduce cortisol responses to stress. But practitioners and researchers have been searching for the mechanisms of meditation. How does meditation work?

In pilot studies, Research Design Associates scientists and colleagues from the Emory University Medical School have demonstrated that compassion meditation can reduce inflammation and stress, which are linked to serious illness including depression, cancer and heart disease. Based on this pilot work, we have begun an NIH-funded 5-year study to investigate the effect of compassion meditation on neuroendocrine, immune and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress.
Mentally Ill Homeless Needs Assessment
The Georgia Department of Human Resources and the Georgia Housing and Finance Authority wanted to determine the residential, employment and service needs of Atlanta's homeless mentally ill. Working together with Atlanta-area hospitals, jails, shelters, and agencies that bring health care to the homeless, Research Design Associates conducted a needs assessment of Atlanta’s mentally ill homeless.

Using key informant surveys; hospital, jail, and shelter census records; and a 24-hour sweep of Atlanta shelters and streets, Research Design Associates provided Georgia agencies with a census of Atlanta’s mentally homeless and recommendations for their care.
Can Technology Facilitate Foreign Language Learning?
To enhance foreign language acquisition, instructors have attempted to make classroom experiences more like those in the real world. In this context, they have turned to technological innovations such as authentic videos and use of the internet.

Research Design Associates scientists have been working with the Emory College Language Center to investigate the effectiveness of such technological approaches for the listening and grammar performance of college French students.

Classroom research is fraught with methodological issues since students typically are not randomly assigned to classes but with advanced research designs in which students are used as their own controls, we have been able to provide the educational community with specific, scientifically based guidance for the use of technology in foreign language acquisition.
Election Redistricting
Sioux Indians in several South Dakota counties filed a federal lawsuit alleging that voting in state and county elections were racially polarized and that non-Indian voters voted en masse for the same candidates, usually defeating the Indian voters’ candidates of choice.

Using precinct-level census and election data, GIS mapping, as well as correlation and regression techniques, Research Design Associates experts determined the level of racially polarized voting and voter turnout by race and reported those findings in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota.