Students Are Naturals with Photos – Now Give 'Em Voice

I'm really excited about a research tool I discovered while setting up a project involving informal science education. It's called "photovoice." It's a qualitative method whereby participants take pictures of settings interesting or important to them and then describe or write about what's meaningful. The method has been used in public health ethnographies, such as the smoking habits of new fathers. Recently, it has surged with the prevalence of smart phones, no doubt. Lots of pockets have cameras in them.

I think middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students would be naturals. In a recent study, Behrendt & Machtmes used photovoice to evaluate student learning on a field trip. Check it out. I'd be interested to know what uses you find, what successes and pitfalls you encounter. Drop me a line.

What's the Difference Between Research and Evaluation?

On more than one of my recent projects, funders have required research as well as evaluation. At conferences and meetings, people are talking about the differences between research and evaluation and where the tasks overlap. I found a recent blog and some classic materials that might be useful when the question arises in your work. On BetterEvaluation, Patricia Rogers discusses several ways to distinguish between research and evaluation. If you really want to dig deep, check out Levin-Rozalis' academic article: I couldn't stop turning the pages.

Improve your program evaluations

An international group of evaluators put together a useful site called BetterEvaluation. It starts with a framework on evaluation processes from start to finish. Perhaps you have questions about options for the design of an evaluation or you are wondering about the decisions your evaluator makes. BetterEvaluation offers blogs to read or PDFs to download on different topics and more.

I'd love to know what piques your interest. Take a look and let me know.