Linking It All Together

Evaluation Terminology
Working Out Evaluation Lingo

Matching The Old With The New

Evaluation spans many fields.  I have come across it in clinical nursing, health promotion, research and teaching.  Although the underlying premise in all these disciplines is to ‘do things better’, evaluation terminology can change depending on who is doing the talking!  Above is a list of all the terms I have come across over the years which basically all describe just four (or three or five depending on which model you use) phases of evaluation cycle.  But before getting into the nuts and bolts of different types of evaluation, I need a quick  reminder of where ‘evaluation types’ slots in within the bigger picture.


Conceptual Levels of Evaluation
So what are the macro parts of the evaluation jigsaw and how do they fit together?  According to Reeves and Hedberg (2003) various approaches to evaluation are underpinned by different and sometimes competing paradigms (or schools of thought) and values.  Reeves and Hedberg point to the ‘Electic-Mixed-Method-Pragmatic Paradigm’ being most utilised in Instructional Design.  This is due to its ability to deal with the complex by borrowing philosophies from other paradigms,  and by focusing on the practical through using tools or approaches that are best for the job, and that support triangulation of methods. Duigan (2001) further categorises evaluation into approaches, purposes (types), methods and designs and gives examples of what types of activities fit within each of these.





Deciding on which pathway is best to conduct an evaluation isn’t as easy as’ pick and mix’ from the variety of activities within each of these aspects of evaluation.  Philosophical values, the context and practical considerations such at time, money and people can lead to debate about what choices are most effective and appropriate.


Reeves, T. & Hedberg, J. (2003).  Evaluating Interactive Learning Systems.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ:  Educational Technology Publications.


Duignan, Dr. P. (2001).  Introduction to Strategic Evaluation:  Section on Evaluation Approaches, Purposes, Methods and Designs.  Retrieved from                          




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