EVAL 6970: Research on Evaluation


This course is in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. in evaluation program at Western Michigan University.

Evaluators use research methods to evaluate and often improve programs. Rarely, though, are research methods applied to evaluate and improve evaluation practice and training. For the evaluation discipline to grow and earn credibility, scholars and evaluation practitioners must create a culture of empirical research on evaluation.

Historically, research on evaluation was frequently conducted, carving and shaping practice to emphasize among other topics, use and quality (Henry & Mark, 2003). However, several decades of stagnate efforts to conduct research on evaluation has limited evaluation innovation. Only in recent years have attempts to define and encourage more research on evaluation sparked new efforts.

This course is designed to expose students to the many different types of research on evaluation by engaging them in a systematic review of the research on evaluation literature. Currently, no such comprehensive source for research on evaluation literature exists.

In this project-based class, students will be expected to develop an awareness of the research on evaluation landscape and to identify and plan opportunities for contributing to it. Students will be required to locate, read, critique, summarize, present and discuss a broad spectrum of recent published studies of research on evaluation from the past decade. Additionally, students will be expected to formulate a detailed proposal, including a background and methodology section, for conducting their own research on evaluation study.




Dr. Chris L. S. Coryn

Required readings

These papers will serve as the topics for class discussion, and students are expected to read and be prepared for in-depth discussion regarding these articles with each other as well as the guest presenters or discussants. The list of required readingsmay be amended as necessary.

In addition, approximately 12 yet-to-be-determined readings across six weeks will be assigned by student presenters. These papers will be chosen as exemplars from the individual domains by the students working within each domain. All students in the class will be expected to familiarize themselves with these readings prior to the student-led presentations.