Abstract:  We share experiences from a mixed methods evaluation in rural India  that combines a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 400 villages with embedded case studies in four villages. Specifcally, we present two lessons from the multi-stage  sampling approach adopted to select the four case-study villages, which frst prioritized key-informant observations regarding intervention status in order to shortlist locations and subsequently used data from the RCT’s baseline survey to select the final sample. In doing so, we highlight how large-scale mixed methods program  evaluations in education can go beyond questions of “what works” to answering those of “how,” “why,” and “why not.”