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Friday, November 26, 2010

20101127 - Evaluation Research (Wikipedia)
Comments: Below is my reading on Evaluation Research, taken from Wikipedia on Sat, 2 !ov 2"#"$

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Mobile Learning portal [prototype] WAP Blog: Mobile Learning & Usability

Evaluation research is used to determine the impact of a social intervention$ % social intervention is an action
taken within a social conte&t designed to produce an intended result$ Evaluation research thus analy'es the impact of a particular program on a certain social pro(lem the program is trying to solve$

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Appropriate Topics
%ppropriate topics for evaluation research are as diverse and e&tensive as any other social research$ )any topics e&ist that are in need of evaluation* however, the ones selected for evaluation have a practical significance$ +ractical significance refers to a topic,s application in the real-world$ Evaluation research has to be conducted during real life situations, meaning researchers need real life participants who are willing to be cooperative$

Types of Evaluation Research Studies
.n the field, there are three main types of studies:

1 Needs assessment studies
+articular studies directed to determine the existence and extent of problems, usually pertaining to a specific population$

!ost"benefit studies

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Studies that decide whether the results of a program justify the expense. The cost could have been financial or non-financial.

3 Monitoring studies
Studies that provide a steady flow of information about a topic of interest. These studies are usually conducted over an extended period of time. In some cases, monitoring studies require incremental interventions, meaning the results may change slightly as monitoring methods alter and changes within the topic being studied are made. Common monitoring studies focus on crime rates or epidemic outbreaks.

Issues of Measurement
hile e!ecuting evaluation research, a researcher may encounter issues that limit the overall quality and validity of their findings. ith all evaluation research , researchers must be able to operationali"e, observe, and recogni"e the presence or absence of what is under study. A common problem is the attempt to measure a variable that is simply unmeasurable. #lso, researchers must be fully aware of outside factors that may influence the variables they are studying. Researchers must also note not just the presence or absence of a variable, but they must analyze the extent to which the variable is present and the amount of its involvement.

ew vs! existing measures
hen designing an evaluation research study, a researcher must decide whether to create his or her own measures or to ma"e use of existing ones. $ne consideration is that e!isting measures may not necessarily meet a researcher%s goals& however, they do allow for comparison.

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#ypes of Research $esign
% &xperimental design
$ne evaluation research design type is e!perimental design. #n e!perimental design for a study whose aim is to evaluate a new medical treatment would likely adhere to the following steps' < Step (' identify the population& identify used definitions )operationali"ations* and pre-test information on patients used in the treatment < Step +' divide patients into experimental and control groups& consider ethical issues' in particular, is it ethically sound to deny treatment of the control group, < Step -' determine the length of the measurement < Step .' determine the details of measurement, context, interventions, etc.

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< Step 5: wait for the treatment to run its course, measure what's needed, and determine how the response variable was changed (if at all)

2 Quasi-experimental design
Another evaluation research design type is quasi-e perimental design! "uasi-e perimental designs are non-rigorous inquiries that somewhat resemble controlled experiments# however, they lack key elements that are indicative of experiments, including pre- and post-testing and/or control groups!

3 ime-series design
$ime-series design is an additional evaluation research design type! $his design type entails measurements made over a fixed time period, such as the study of traffic accident rates before and after the lowering of the speed limit in an area!

! "ultiple time-series design
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%ultiple time-series designs utili&e more than one set of data collected over a period of time, such as accident rates over time in several states or cities! $his design type allows comparisons to 'e made!

# $ocial indicators research
Social indicators research is a popular avenue that combines evaluation research with the analysis of existing data! Social indicators are measurements that are reflective of the quality or nature of social life! Social indicators are frequently monitored in order to determine the nature of social change within a society! Some commonly used social indicators include crime rates, infant mortality rates, and the num'er of physicians per ()),))) population!

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% &onequivalent control groups
&onequivalent control groups share similarities with the experimental group, 'ut they are not selected 'ased on random assignment! *or e ample, two compara'le schools might 'e used# one as a nonequivalent control group, one as the e perimental group! 'ommon (roblems +esearchers who utili&e evaluation research must contend with numerous pro'lems! $hey may e perience difficulty ensuring sub)ects* full cooperation! Additionally, they may have trouble finding willing participants, as research and participation in it is a priority for few!

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Like other forms of social research, evaluation research must take into account ethical considerations. As mentioned earlier, sometimes evaluation research studies may require the split of sub)ects into experimental and control groups. When considering controversial topics, such as sex education programs, it can be the evaluation research itself that raises ethical problems. In this case, the following question might be raised: is it ethicall sound to expose onl the experimental group to sex education programs!

,esults and -nterpretation
"esults from evaluation research are not alwa s put into practice. #ne reason for this is that implications may not be presented in such a manner that is understandable to nonresearchers. Additionall , results may contrast with researchers* beliefs. "esearchers ma have a vested interest in the results. $he ma also be pressured to come up with certain results, such as positive findings for a pharmaceutical compan . In this case, ethical concerns regarding the researchers% ob&ectivit must be raised. When la persons interpret research findings, the must alwa s be aware of the highly political aspect of research. 'olitical agendas can be difficult to identif , and the often cause research to be biased. $his involves not &ust part politics, but also politics that are at pla within the scientific and academic communities.

Comments: I concur that the research community may tend to be biased, e.g. toward their norms, beliefs and practices. I have been advised by 2 R&D key persons to redirect (is that bias?) my research in certain manner. Do I want my PhD in easier manner? I yes! it is best to o""ow the advice o the #niversity Research Comm$nity. I am in di"emma.

(ource: http:))en.wikibooks.org)wiki)(ocial*"esearch*+ethods),valuation*"esearch
Poste/ by Mi!+ael o7 MMU at 11:1D PM Labels: e$al0ation resear!+8 resear!+ "et+o/8 5i,ipe/ia

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