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3 publications found

Oct 30, 2015 Article
Highlighting the wider relevance of science centre evaluations: a reflection on the evaluation of a physics engagement programme

by Heather King, Emily Dawson and Rodolfo Leyva

This paper reflects on the evaluation of and findings from a nationwide programme of physics engagement activities hosted by 10 science centres across the UK. We discuss our findings indicating the affordances of the programme with reference to the wider literature in order to draw out elements of the project that may be useful for other science learning and engagement initiatives. In particular, we discuss findings that relate to contemporary research and policy interests around the engagement of girls in science, the key ages at which young people’s views may best be influenced, the importance of explicating the nature of ‘real-world’ content and careers, and the value of collaborative partnerships.

Volume 14 • Issue 04 • 2015

Sep 29, 2015 Letter
A response to “Highlighting the value of impact evaluation: enhancing informal science learning and public engagement theory and practice”

by Heather King and Kate Steiner

Whilst welcoming Jensen’s response to our original paper, we suggest that our main argument may have been missed. We agree that there are many methods for conducting impact assessments in informal settings. However, the capacity to use such tools is beyond the scope of many practitioners with limited budgets, time, and appropriate expertise to interpret findings.
More particularly, we reiterate the importance of challenging the prevailing policy discourse in which longitudinal impact studies are regarded as the ‘gold standard’, and instead call for a new discourse that acknowledges what is feasible and useful in informal sector evaluation practice.

Volume 14 • Issue 03 • 2015

Apr 28, 2015 Article
Highlighting the value of evidence-based evaluation: pushing back on demands for ‘impact’

by Heather King, Kate Steiner, Marie Hobson, Amelia Robinson and Hannah Clipson

This paper discusses the value and place of evaluation amidst increasing demands for impact. We note that most informal learning institutions do not have the funds, staff or expertise to conduct impact assessments requiring, as they do, the implementation of rigorous research methodologies. However, many museums and science centres do have the experience and capacity to design and conduct site-specific evaluation protocols that result in valuable and useful insights to inform ongoing and future practice. To illustrate our argument, we discuss the evaluation findings from a museum-led teacher professional development programme, Talk Science.

Volume 14 • Issue 02 • 2015