Governments all around the world are adopting ambitious goals and reforms aimed at improving the quality-of-service delivery, particularly in the education sector. However, they often struggle to translate these reform intentions into tangible action.

Delivery approaches – which include delivery units and delivery labs – have been used in over 40 national and subnational governments with the goal of improving government coordination and implementation of services. But outside of high-income countries, very few peer-reviewed studies exist examining the impact of different delivery approaches, and there is no shared framework across the global education community.

Research under the DeliverEd project seeks to provide a new body of rigorous evidence on the potential effectiveness of delivery approaches for achieving these goals, led by an ongoing set of in-depth country-level case studies of the particular delivery approaches in Tanzania, Pakistan, Ghana, Jordan, and India.

The purpose of this paper is to outline a preliminary conceptual framework and set of definitions that can be used by each country’s research teams. In particular, this paper focuses on establishing a definition and scope for what constitutes a delivery approach, identifying a set of design features that are common to many delivery approaches, and highlighting a selected number of key dimensions along which the design of delivery approaches can differ.