505-Entry #3

This week we looked at research and evaluation and found similarities and differences between the two. What it boils down to is that research is done for the benefit of individuals outside of the participation group, while an evaluation is for the benefit of the participants.

The discussion and information on sampling and bias we had this week I found to be particularly interesting. In my position as staff committee chair at our school I am often charged with gathering the opinions of staff on issues of concern. I have deployed the use of Google Forms, Survey Monkey, and other similar online polling applications many times. Inevitably the same staff members respond to the survey and the same group choose to ignore the document. The text suggests following up with personal contact with those individuals who do not respond to find out their reasons for not responding. I had never really thought about following up on individuals who choose not to respond. It is clear that any information gathered by the same sample of teachers will not be an accurate representation of the thought and feelings of staff. These results may not be an accurate sample based on the lack of adequate number of responses and those who choose to respond may have a particular bias toward the topic of the questionnaire. Another factor may be the wide range of technical abilities on our staff. We have an aging population of teachers who may have a reluctance to using technology, not only in their classrooms, but for themselves as well. If they do not regularly open emails they will be denied access to the survey/questionnaire document all together.
Based on this weeks materials and topics I will be rethinking the process of gathering and analyzing data.

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