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Evaluative research

 

Explanations > Social Research > Design > Evaluative research

Summative evaluation | Formative evaluation | See also

 

Evaluative research seeks to assess or judge in some way, providing useful information about something other than might be gleaned in mere observation or investigation of relationships.

Summative evaluation

Summative evaluation seeks to understand the outcomes or effects of something, for example where a test in of children in school is used to assess the effectiveness of teaching or the deployment of a curriculum. The children in this case are not direct beneficiaries - they are simply objects that contain information that needs to be extracted.

Summative evaluations can assess such as:

  • Finance: Effect in terms of cost, savings, profit and so on.
  • Impact: Broad effect, both positive and negative, including depth, spread and time effects.
  • Outcomes: Whether desired or unwanted effects are achieved.
  • Secondary analysis: Analysis of existing data to derive additional information.
  • Meta-analysis: Integrating results of multiple studies.

Formative evaluation

Formative evaluation is used to help strengthen or improve the person or thing being tested. For example where a test of children in school is used to shape teaching methods that will result in optimal learning.

Formative evaluations can assess such as:

  • Implementation: Monitoring success of a process or project.
  • Needs: Looking at such as type and level of need.
  • Potential: The ability of using information for formative purpose.

See also

Selection, A general research framework

 

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