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The contribution of metaevaluation to the development of evaluation theory and practice : an exploratory study


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Bannister, Barry John 1987 , 'The contribution of metaevaluation to the development of evaluation theory and practice : an exploratory study', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The thesis arises from a belief that more attention needs to be
given to methods of improving evaluation theory and practice.
Metaevaluation - or the evaluation of evaluation - would seem to be a
potentially significant element in the determination of evaluation quality,
which is accepted as a major metaevaluation criterion. The study is
concerned, therefore, with demonstrating the extent of this potential by
evolving an approach to evaluation based on insights emerging both from
the research literature and from the situation in which the study is
This approach, implemented through a case study of a primary
evaluation which is in turn evaluated, produces a range of conclusions
and implications of relevance to the betterment of evaluation. The study
is significant because it is the first formal metaevaluation, in a n
Australian post-secondary context at least, of an evaluation of a course
innovation, using the Joint Committee Standards as a basis for
assessment. As such, the study initiates an approach to metaevaluation,
and in so doing contributes to knowledge of how metaevaluation relates
to evaluation in a practical setting. It also derives a number of
conclusions and implications for the conceptualisation of metaevaluation,
and suggests directions for further research. The review of research indicates the uneven development of
evaluation theory and practice in recent decades, partly as a result of
proponents of 'traditional' and 'alternative' paradigms defining or redefining
their respective positions in reaction to each other. This led to
the proposition that one's epistemological assumptions in some way
determined the research method or evaluation techniques available;
further analysis revealed that one's methodology is not pre-determined in
this manner, because of the absence of a sustainable - logical or causal -
link between ideology, paradigm, and method-type.
Acceptance of this point of view facilitated the adoption of a case
study approach to the design and implementation of the evaluation and
metaevaluation which formed the case study element of the overall
study. Evidence of the need for an exploratory study of the type reported
on in this thesis, was found in the literature and particularly in requests by
the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation,
concerning the need for research efforts which would test the validity and
utility of current metaevaluation standards in field settings.
In general terms, the problem examined in the study was proposed
as follows:
1. What is the contribution of metaevaluation to the improvement
of evaluation theory and practice?
2. What is the most appropriate method of facilitating
this investigation?
2 The case study method suggested in the review of The case study method suggested in the review of literature, and
suited to the context of the overall research study, employed the
techniques of questionnaire, interview, and checklisting to gather data.
The analysis of these data in turn produced insights of relevance to the
development of metaevaluation procedures, as well as to their role in the
improvement of evaluation.
The results of the case study were presented and analysed with
the outcomes of the formative evaluation being recorded by means of a
summary of the periodic evaluation reports prepared during the three
years of the case study. At the end of this 'formative' period, an external
metaevaluation assessed the impact and validity of the primary
evaluation, and this was supplemented by an internal metaevaluation
using a checklist based on the Joint Committee Standards referred to
Finally, the results of this analysis were related to the focus
provided by the literature review and the research design for the study.
As a result, it was concluded that metaevaluation had demonstrated its
potential for monitoring and assessing the quality of a particular
evaluation, and as well, had indicated its contribution to the development
of evaluation theory and practice. Insofar as this had been established,
the purpose of the study was achieved.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Bannister, Barry John
Keywords: Education, Higher, Education, Higher, Evaluation
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1987 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1988. Bibliography: leaves 246 -290

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