eCite Digital Repository

To Control or Not to Control: The question of whether experimental designs are appropriate for evaluating teaching innovations in higher education

Citation

Kember, D, To Control or Not to Control: The question of whether experimental designs are appropriate for evaluating teaching innovations in higher education, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 28, (1) pp. 89-101. ISSN 0260-2938 (2003) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2003 Taylor & Francis Ltd

DOI: doi:10.1080/02602930301684

Abstract

It is becoming increasingly common for academics to engage in research into their own teaching, usually by introducing some form of innovation into one of their courses. When doing so, they are often inclined by disciplinary tradition, or urged by senior colleagues, to use experimental designs in order that any observed outcomes can be attributed to the innovation itself. This article points out the problems with experimental designs for naturalistic studies of innovative teaching in higher education. A genuine control is impossible. Practical difficulties in separating groups often result in contamination of designs. Educational issues are complex with many variables involved. Therefore, experimental designs with limited numbers of cells result in oversimplification because they deal with only a few of the relevant factors. Particular types of innovation are not precisely reproducible so generalisation can be misleading. As an alternative, triangulation across multi-method evaluations from several sources is recommended, with the aim of establishing evidence beyond reasonable doubt. Comparison and synthesis across related projects appears to be a promising way to derive recommendations for ways to formulate important aspects of innovations.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and Pedagogy
Research Field:Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and Instruction
Objective Field:Pedagogy
UTAS Author:Kember, D (Professor David Kember)
ID Code:129970
Year Published:2003
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2019-01-02
Last Modified:2019-03-14
Downloads:0

Repository Staff Only: item control page