Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Week four: Evaluation paradigms and models

Over the next two weeks we will be examining the different paradigms of evaluation so you will be able to decide on a theoretical umbrella under which your evaluation will sit. The design of your evaluation project will be based on a model which will determine the methods you will use to collect data.

Firstly , ask yourself whether you are interested in rich, descriptive information, or do you prefer to "crunch numbers"? Do you want to find out how people are rating certain features of your new eLearning system? Or do you want to find out how they are using something by hearing about it in their own words?

For example, under the analytic-empirical-quantitative paradigm, you would use an experimental model and quantitative methods e.g surveys (Likert-type scales) to collect numerical data. Whereas under a constructivist-hermeneutic-interpretivist-qualitative paradigm, you would select a constructivist (Guba and Lincoln or Pattons) model and collect descriptive data, using methods such as interviews and focus groups or content analysis of documents to gather data.

It is best not to get hung up on the big words. Read through the material and ask for clarification on the course blog if unclear about anything.

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