Our Research Process

Research across many fields of psychology demonstrates that individuals’ mindsets –their attitudes, beliefs, perceptions about themselves and the world – play a key role in their ability to fulfill their potential. Psychological theory can help us understand the types of mindsets most likely to be relevant in a given setting, but psychological theory alone is not enough to customize effective solutions for specific individuals and varied contexts.

In order to understand how to best leverage the power of mindsets in a particular setting, we combine psychological theory with best practices in improvement science, design thinking, and experimental methods.

Our work to develop, test, and spread learning mindset-supportive practices involves four phases:

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Empathize & Learn

In the empathize & learn phase we work to understand the problem by listening to our stakeholders.

We do this by collecting rich qualitative and quantitative indicators of learning mindsets and student success, ensuring that all future efforts will be based on robust, context-specific evidence.


Prototype & Test

In the prototype and test phase, we test strategies in the field to gather evidence on their effectiveness and scalability.

  • Practice active inquiry to continuously assess, track, and capture evidence from testing.

  • Engage in systematic reflection to document lessons learned from ongoing testing and identify opportunities for increased fidelity, impact, and cost-efficiency.

  • Curate a list of recommendations for learning mindset interventions that can be scaled, building from Motivate Lab’s preexisting list of evidence-based strategies.

  • Establish the efficacy of learning mindset interventions through a combination of improvement testing (e.g., plan-do-study-act cycles) and randomized control trials (i.e., RCTs).

Synthesize & Plan

In the synthesize & plan phase we leverage learnings to identify areas to test interventions.

  • Pinpoint evidence-based research practices that address key challenges across the network.

  • Highlight existing institutional and statewide practices that target key issues in schools.

  • Co-create customized practices, tailored to the educational contexts in which they will be tested.


Adopt & Infuse

In the adopt and infuse phase, we disseminate findings to accelerate learning across a system:

  • Create routines and procedures for customizing interventions and activities to new settings, including best practices for adapting to new contexts and student populations.

  • Compile a list of resources to empower practitioners to make informed changes at their institutions.

  • Establish the efficacy of learning mindset interventions at scale through replication.

  • Host annual convenings around learning mindsets to facilitate interinstitutional discussions, share cutting-edge research on learning mindsets, and accelerate network-wide learnings.

  • Norm evidence-demonstrated policies and procedures through institutional and statewide supports.