Evaluation is a significant part of most aspects of people’s lives. Evaluation provides people with opportunities to assess past events along with their effectiveness and estimate possibilities of future events along with probabilities of their success. Evaluation is also crucial in doing research or conducting a study to assess various factors. Moreover, the terms “Research Evaluation” and “Realistic Evaluation” are directly related within the context of this paper in terms of ensuring evidence-based evaluation for more accurate results. Evaluation can be characterized by several types, its design, and the follow-up period, each of which are important in analyzing a set parameter.
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Evaluation that is done during research consists of three types. The first type is impact evaluation which accounts for outcome measurements and their effects considering the appropriate design and sufficient sample size (Poverty Action Lab, n.d.). The second type, process evaluation, refers to performance management and is critical when the researcher cannot convey a rigorous impact evaluation (Poverty Action Lab, n.d.). The last type is the cost-benefit evaluation which estimates the balance between expenses and profits depending on data, location, labor force, and other factors that require spending (Poverty Action Lab, n.d.). The three types of research evaluation are vital in estimating research and its outcomes.
One of the important aspects of evaluation, especially during research, is the experimental design. Design can impact the types of conclusions that one can draw from their findings (Tartaro, 2021). Experimental design includes participants divided into experimental and control groups and will be effective if the control group is not exposed to experimental treatment stimulus (Tartaro, 2021). The goal of this design is to generate two similar groups, with only one difference of the experimental group being exposed to the independent variable and the control group not being exposed (Tartaro, 2021). Experimental design is important to evaluate the outcomes applying the independent variable.
Experimental design can impact a study’s validity, reliability, and generalization. Validity refers to the accuracy of measurement, which depends on the correctness and range of measuring items, along with how the measure reflects the researcher’s theory (Tartaro, 2021). Reliability can be identified as the consistency and stability of certain measures and depends on time, different observers, and measuring items (Tartaro, 2021). Generalization refers to the findings of research being applicable to other studies or situations and depends on various factors such as framework, setting, context (Tartaro, 2021). Experimental design can impact the mentioned three parameters based on the independent variable, characteristics of participants and formed groups, settings, time period, hypotheses, theories, and other factors.
The follow-up period might impact an evaluation made in terms of tracing the measurements. For example, in relation to criminal justice, there is a study on how various types of offending and related behaviors change over time (McGee et al., 2020). The study examined persistent antisocial behavior at different intervals across the life course, analyzed the pros and cons of classifying behavior patterns, and proposed a simpler approach to identifying patterns (McGee et al., 2020). Data gathered at shorter and more regular follow-up periods was more accurate than data from longer periods (McGee et al., 2020). Some individuals were observed for a more prolonged time, changing the length of follow-up between different age groups (McGee et al., 2020). Overall, too short, or too long periods are more likely to result in less accurate data.
To summarize, types of research evaluations, appropriate design, and the follow-up period are essential in evaluation. The types of evaluations account for primal aspects of research and its results. Experimental design typically focuses on two groups of participants and can impact validity, reliability, and generalization. The follow-up period is important in tracing data during research and possibly sometime afterward, especially when done regularly with relatively short intervals for more accurate information.
McGee, T. R., Whitten, T., Williams, C., Jolliffe, D., & Farrington, D. P. (2020). Classification of patterns of offending in developmental and life-course criminology, with special reference to persistence. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 59, 1-45.
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Poverty Action Lab. (n.d.). Deciding what, when, and where to invest in impact evaluation. Poverty Action Lab.
Tartaro, C. (2021). Research methods for Criminal Justice and Criminology: A text and reader. Routledge.