An educational non-profit sought to understand the challenges and drivers of public school choice—including traditional neighborhood schools, charter schools, magnet schools and public school with special programs—specifically among lower income Washington, D.C. families.


Wakefield Research developed a comprehensive study to measure key perceptions and motivations of lower income D.C. parents, specifically crucial factors and considerations with regards to selecting a D.C. public school for their child.

Wakefield Research launched this project by facilitating focus groups with lower income D.C. parents to better understand their thoughts, motivations and concerns surrounding D.C. public school options.

In addition, Wakefield Research recruited and launched a separate online and phone survey of more than 1,500 lower income D.C. parents, which mapped out current perceptions of public schools in the city, identified key drivers of school choice and revealed how parents define and assess key factors such as academic performance and teacher quality. In addition, quantitative survey research revealed which tools and resources would be most valuable to D.C. parents when making educational decisions.

The Strategic Research team then ran a regression analysis to provide a blueprint of D.C. parents’ decision-making process. This allowed the client to prioritize communications and outreach efforts with key stakeholders, including parents, teachers, school board members and community leaders.

Methods Used:  

  • Expert Moderation
  • Quantitative Survey Research
  • Advanced Analytics

Wakefield Research’s signature, comprehensive hybrid design—involving focus group research followed by large scale quantitative survey—positioned the client to engage in important conversations and take meaningful steps toward developing programs and resources that most effectively meet the needs and desires of lower income parents in the nation’s capital.

For help with your market research and opinion survey needs, contact Wakefield Research today.