Applying the use, methods, and values branches of Evaluations' theory tree to institutional research

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Robert Springer (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
John Willse

Abstract: Evaluation and Institutional Research (IR) both share similar beginnings, purpose, reactions, and concerns. The primary difference between the two professions is that Evaluation is an established discipline, whereas IR appears to have only started moving in that direction. This study mapped an Evaluation Theory Tree containing three branches (Values, Methods, and Use) to Institutional Research. A national survey collected practicing IR professionals' responses to questions that related to stakeholder and decision maker involvement in studies, report/study processes and procedures, and directors approaches to conducting IR. Confirmatory factor analysis results provided confirmation of that three-branch tree structure. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) results indicated group differences between Evaluators and IRs with Evaluators scoring higher in several areas of professional practice. Tests results were compelling. Findings indicated that there are differences between Evaluators and IR in their reported practices and procedures--particularly in the area of assessment/evaluation. Multiple linear regression (MLR) was used to evaluate approaches in conducting IR and employing best practices in reporting processes and procedures. Results provide implications for conceptualizing connections among the Evaluation Theory Tree branches. Lastly, relationships between office staffing and institutional type with participants responses to various questions was also tested. Overall, this study's results indicate that there are potential benefits to employing Evaluation theory to IR. For examples, evaluation processes and procedures could help guide IR practice in research and reporting approaches, employing techniques that enhance utilization of reports and studies, and enhancing stakeholder involvement in the collection and analysis of data.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Confirmatory factor analysis, Evaluation, Institutional Research, MANOVA, Regression, Survey
Education, Higher $x Research
Multivariate analysis
Educational evaluation

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