Evaluation: Emergence, Mode of Inquiry, Theory & Practice
21 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2006
Date Written: November 10, 2006
The aim of this paper is to present the reader with an accessible and practical account of the evaluation as a mode of inquiry within the broad domain of social science. The starting point will be to present a general outline of the main milestones relating to the emergence of evaluation as a mode of inquiry and some of the prominent advocates of comtemporary evaluation. Particular attention will be directed towards what is termed as 'programme evaluation'. Then I will endeavour to explore whether evaluation as a mode of inquiry is practice or theory lead. A definitive answer to this question will not be presented here in this short paper; I will instead make assumptions based on my interpretation of the reviewed discourse within the field and personal reflection from practice. The case of the European University Association (EUA) Quality Review of the seven Irish universities and the Dublin Institute of Technology will be cited as an example of evaluation in practice in the Irish Higher Education sector. Issues such as the politics and power, decision making, and the use, misuse or non-use, of findings of evaluations will be briefly introduced.
Keywords: Evaluation, theory, practice, research, higher education
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