The relationship among evidence, research, and analysis
Program, policy and instructional decisions are made every day in schools and school boards. Each of these things involves the gathering of information to contribute to evidence that is intended to support effective decision-making. When collecting evidence, it is imperative to thoroughly assess the rigour and quality of the information being used. Knowing how to collect and analyze data, engage in a collaborative inquiry, monitor a program, and assess and analyze evidence is critical for decision-making as educators.
The decisions we make in the interests of our students must be informed by sound evidence, and this evidence can be gathered only by engaging in a process of inquiry.
Types of Inquiry
Remember that researchers come from a variety of disciplines. As such, they use diverse ways of approaching the research question and, in turn, the research process and results. It is not an easy task for anyone to deal with, and make sense of, the range and amount of research available. This site is intended to provide guidelines and links to resources that could help with gathering and assessing evidence to inform your work, whether it’s in policy, practice or some other area. According to Patton (2002):
- Psychometricians strive to measure it
- Experimentalists try to control it
- Interviewers ask questions about it
- Observers aim to watch it
- Participant observers do it
- Statisticians count it
- Evaluators value it
- Qualitative inquirers find meaning in it
Why is it important to know how to gather and assess evidence?
The ability to gather and evaluate information as more or less trustworthy is a crucial skill in the education sector, and is directly related to one’s knowledge of methods of inquiry. We hope that this site will provide you with a foundational knowledge of these methods to properly gather and assess evidence.
Who is it done by?
In any case, it is the responsibility of each user to assess the quality of the evidence gathered.
Who is it done for?
Gathering and assessing evidence is done for the benefit of arriving at and providing a sound evidence base to inform decision-making at any level of the education system.