racial discrimination is most needed and to further the development of useful data sources for measurement purposes.

Our efforts as a panel concentrated on an in-depth exploration of concepts and methodological approaches to measuring racial discrimination. Within the scope of our charge and resources, we could not take the next step of developing a detailed agenda in any domain for further research to inform policy making and public understanding. What we undertake in this short concluding chapter is to suggest ways in which program and research agencies might build a research agenda that is directed to priority needs for measuring racial discrimination.


Program agencies that are charged to monitor and investigate discrimination complaints, such as the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and others, have a direct interest in the measurement and understanding of racial discrimination. These agencies could benefit most directly from improved data and research in relevant domains of interest to them. Other agencies that design and operate programs that may be directly affected by the presence of discrimination and by antidiscrimination laws and regulations should also have an interest in discrimination research (such agencies exist in the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, and others).

Priority Research Topics

An initial step in furthering useful research for program needs is for agencies to identify the subset of outcomes and processes in which racial discrimination may occur that are of most importance from the agency’s policy perspective. This is not a trivial task. It is crucial, however, to framing a cost-beneficial research agenda, given the substantial time and effort that would likely be required to obtain appropriate data and conduct useful analyses on even a single topic.

Because resource limitations will necessarily constrain research and data collection, program agencies should subject their list of priority research areas to careful evaluation regarding feasibility and costs. We strongly urge that agencies not limit their determination of feasible priority projects to a particular disciplinary perspective or type of analytical method or data. Narrowing a methodological focus too early could well lead to conclusions that do not stand up when subjected to other kinds of analyses.

As a hypothetical example, consider racial discrimination in the employment domain, which clearly presents many questions of policy and pub-

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