Navigating Research and Evaluation Projects in STEM Projects by Shifting Focus in the Framing, Forming, and Telling of Stories

January 23, 2024

During the 2023 American Evaluation Association's (AEA) annual conference, our very own Senior Research and Evaluation Associate, Christopher Cox, Ph.D. called attention to he divergent stories that are told through the differing trails of evidence in his presentation, Navigating Research and Evaluation in STEM Projects by Shifting Focus in the Framing, Forming, and Telling of Stories.

Recent solicitations from some National Science Foundation (NSF) funding program tracks (e.g., AISL, DRK-12, ITEST, IUSE, SSTEM) include a project research or knowledge generation component in addition to an evaluation component. While both research and evaluation can gather and analyze similar data, the types of stories they tell are quite different based on how a trail of evidence is framed and formed. Utilizing Dykes’ (2023) story framing, forming, and telling that characterize steps associated with data stories, team members from The Rucks Group, LLC will compare the distinct trajectories of research from evaluation in STEM evaluations with respect to approaches, processes, and the reporting of findings. Drawing on several projects in which we serve as the external evaluator, we share our experiences in planning and implementing evaluations in projects with research or knowledge generation components. We will share lessons learned throughout the scoping, planning, and implementation of evaluations, including instances where data sets are used for research and evaluation purposes. We will conclude the session with opportunities for participants to reflect on and anticipate considerations for evaluation scopes of work complementary to project research.

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