We are pleased to announce that Insight Policy Research was acquired by Westat, effective June 15, 2022. Branded as “Westat Insight,” we are currently operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Westat and continue to provide our clients with the best-in-class services they have come to expect. Our combined experience now offers expanded expertise in health, education, and social policy as well as deeper methodological skills in survey research, evaluation, data analytics, and technical assistance. Learn more here.
We are pleased to announce that Insight Policy Research was acquired by Westat, effective June 15, 2022. Branded as “Westat Insight,” we are currently operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Westat and continue to provide our clients with the best-in-class services they have come to expect. Our combined experience now offers expanded expertise in health, education, and social policy as well as deeper methodological skills in survey research, evaluation, data analytics, and technical assistance. Learn more here.
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White Papers, Issue Briefs, and Articles

Our white papers, issue briefs, and articles spotlight areas of improvement for social policies and programs, changing the way we see the world a little bit at a time.

White Papers, Issue Briefs, and Articles

Employee Retention and Engagement in the Civilian Labor Force

Voluntary turnover in the United States is estimated to have cost organizations approximately $536 billion in 2016. Given the costs associated with hiring and training new employees, companies unable to retain key staff fight an uphill battle to remain competitive. This literature review, authored by Insight’s military and veteran support team, describes employee retention trends in the United States and summarizes strategies civilian industry uses to measure and better understand factors that influence retention and employee engagement. It presents an overview of best practices used by civilian industrial organizations to improve retention, including a special focus on caregiver leave and sabbaticals. The report concludes with a synthesis of lessons learned and implications for the military.

Challenges Surrounding the Reintegration of Deployed Military Mothers

As of 2018, women represented 16.5 percent of active duty and 22.2 percent of reserve duty service members. As more servicewomen are being deployed to combat locations, it has become increasingly important to understand how deployment affects military mothers and their families. This literature review, authored by Insight’s military and veteran support team, summarizes the available literature on the impact of deployments on military mothers, identifying areas of consensus and research gaps. This report describes the prevalence of military mothers and summarizes research on challenges faced by military mothers related to parenting, household roles, and family dynamics. It concludes with an overview of programs for military parents overall.

Conscious and Unconscious Gender Bias

Conscious and unconscious gender bias permeates society and continues to limit women’s participation and advancement even when equality has been legally established. This literature review, authored by Insight’s military and veteran support team, and conducted for the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (known as DACOWITS), reviews the academic foundations of bias; media coverage on gender bias within the U.S. military; and how gender-inclusive wording has been adapted within the U.S. military, foreign militaries, and U.S. commercial workplaces and civilian industries. The paper concludes by identifying best practices and strategies to address conscious and unconscious gender bias through gender-inclusive wording and policies.

Women in Operational Career Fields: Lessons Learned From Male-Dominated Civilian Industries

As part of their ongoing effort to recruit and retain women into the military service, the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (known as DACOWITS) requested a literature review to identify the gender distribution in selected civilian career field and summarize the strategies, if any, used to recruit and retain women in these fields. This literature review, authored by Insight’s military and veteran support team, reviews the retention efforts for women in the military and provides a detailed discussion of male-dominated civilian career fields and strategies that have been used to recruit and retain women. The report concludes by identifying the pattern of challenges for women in male-dominated career fields and the strategies that have been used successfully to attract and keep women in these industries.

National Evaluation of HUD’s ConnectHome Initiative

The brief, written by Insight’s Carole Trippe and Brittany McGill, summarizes the results of one of three components of the National Evaluation of ConnectHome, a collaborative effort of communities, the federal government, and the private sector to bring high-speed internet access to low-income families in HUD-assisted housing. The brief describes the Baseline Access Survey—which assessed the baseline level of internet access among families with children in 22 pilot communities prior to implementing the initiative. Insight examined the level of in-home internet access, the types of internet connection, the number and types of devices used (e.g., phone, laptop, tablet), the reasons for lack of internet access, and awareness of the ConnectHome initiative. Results show only about one-third of households have high-speed internet access at home. Another third are “underconnected,” relying, for example, on a cell phone data plan for in-home internet access, and one-third have no internet access at all at home. Most households without internet access report cost as the primary reason.

Strategies to Increase Diversity in the Civilian Sector: Applications and Effectiveness of the Rooney Rule and Similar Approaches

Although all units and positions were officially opened to women as of December 3, 2015, gender diversity in the military remains nominal, especially at the highest echelons of Department of Defense leadership. Some branches have introduced or are considering several diversity initiatives, including efforts to increase diversity in key military development positions. Insight conducted this literature review for the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (known as DACOWITS) to summarize how the Rooney Rule—a National Football League (NFL) policy that requires teams to interview minority candidates for senior coaching and management positions—is being used in the civilian sector to improve diversity in higher level jobs. This report provides an overview of diversity in the military and the civilian sector, describes the Rooney Rule and its effectiveness in the NFL, presents applications in the civilian sector, and identifies ways to increase diversity within organizations moving forward.

Foreign Military Strategies to Recruit and Retain Women

Women serve in the armed forces of at least 74 countries around the world. To better understand successful strategies the military services of other countries have used to attract and retain highly qualified women, the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (known as DACOWITS) requested this literature review be conducted by Insight’s military and veteran support team. This review provides an overview of foreign militaries that have women serving in their armed forces and presents case studies of four militaries that allow women to serve in combat: South Africa, Australia, Canada, and Norway. The report concludes by applying findings to the recruitment and retention approaches used by the U.S. Military.

Homelessness, Unemployment, Suicide, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Military Sexual Trauma

A disproportionate number of persons experiencing homelessness are veterans. While veterans represent only 9.5 percent of the U.S. adult population, they make up 11.4 percent of the population living in homeless shelters. Female veterans are the fastest growing segment, making up 9 percent of the total homeless veteran population. This literature review, authored by Insight’s military and veteran support team, presents research related to statistics on rates of homelessness, suicide, unemployment, and posttraumatic stress disorder within the female active and reserve service member and veteran populations.

Sexual Assault Prevention Programs

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (known as DACOWITS) has spent years focused on sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military and is interested in proactive programs that educate Service members on ways to prevent sexual assault from occurring. This literature review, authored by Insight’s military and veteran support team, provides brief descriptions of successful evidence-based programs and their outcomes and summarizes research on characteristics that make programs more effective. The report describes current sexual assault education programs implemented by the Department of Defense and other programs related to adult education and training on sexual assault, describes evidence on each program’s success, and illustrates the range of strategies employed by these programs.

Propensity of Women to Serve in the Military

Efforts to recruit women into the military services can be informed by successful efforts to recruit women into stereotypically male-dominated academic programs and other male-dominated professions. Authored by Insight’s military and veteran support team, the report provides an overview of the literature available on why people join groups and what contributes to success in a group context, followed by an overview of research on the successfulness of recruitment advertising and marketing campaigns in general. The report concludes with descriptions of marketing and advertisement campaigns that have been used to recruit women into male-dominated groups.