tools to the private sector, state and local governments, and educational institutions.

Recommendation: The Department of Labor should establish and support an external technical advisory board, comprised of senior scientists, to develop a research agenda for O*NET that will prioritize research suggestions from its members, the department, the O*NET Center, the user advisory board recommended below, and other sources. At a minimum, it should meet twice yearly, once to establish research priorities for the coming year and develop requests for proposals reflecting these priorities and once to review and rank proposals submitted by academic researchers or contractors.

The panel views these two recommendations as offering the greatest potential for enhancing the quality of the database. In particular, establishing an external technical advisory board will assist DOL in managing the research agenda as changes in the labor market, O*NET user needs, the scientific research, and agency goals lead to changes in research needs and priorities.

Research and Development Agenda

The following list of research recommendations represents the panel’s best judgment of current research needs, based on its review of the evidence. Although the list is presented in order of perceived importance, as viewed by the panel at this time, it is not immutable. Other factors, such as costs and contingencies associated with the research, in addition to its perceived importance, should be considered in defining the order in which the research is undertaken. The panel expects that, in the future, the proposed technical advisory board will assist DOL in making decisions about which of these proposed research activities may be most important to undertake in any given year.

The panel views three specific research activities as most important:

  1. Conduct research on the content model, beginning with the Skills and Knowledge domains (Chapter 2).

  2. Assess benefits and costs of changing the occupational classification system (Chapter 3).

  3. Study the behaviorally anchored rating scales (Chapter 4).

The panel also recommends investigation of eight other issues, presented below in order of importance:

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