About Evaluation

Evaluation studies in the informal science education field are generally conducted with the aim of measuring whether a project met its goals, identifying areas for improvement, and assessing impact. In many cases, evaluation studies go a step further and serve to advance the field by deriving lessons for funders, policymakers, or practitioners beyond the project. The resources in this section are designed to assist project directors, and evaluators, by referring to reports on past projects to build on prior work and to key resources to learn about integrating and managing evaluation. Evaluation reports found in this section have been contributed by evaluators of informal STEM learning projects.

DEVISE Project Wordle

Wordle representation of DEVISE: Developing, Validating, and Implementing Situated Evaluation Instruments, excerpted from notes from the first Advisory Board Meeting. View project description.

Share your evaluation findings with the informal science education field.

Search and Browse Evaluation: Discover what evaluation reports reveal about specific audience segments, education topics, project settings, and other factors that inform your work. Find instruments for evaluating project goal achievement and measuring impacts. Narrow your results with filters for environment type, evaluation type, audience demographics, and content area.

Submit Evaluation: Share reports from evaluation activities conducted in informal STEM education projects. Posting front-end evaluation reports can help others to understand the needs or prior knowledge of a specific audience, while formative evaluation can provide examples of effective interventions or design method. Summative evaluation reports can play a key role in dissemination and enable others to build on prior work to advance the field.

Find an Evaluator: The informalscience.org member directory offers ways to filter the member directory, to identify evaluators and others, by learning environment, evaluation needs, and content expertise. When you join the site and create your profile, as a member you are automatically included in the directory. We do not endorse any individual consultant or firm and it is your responsibility to determine whether any consultant or firm is appropriate for your needs. The Visitor Studies Association and American Evaluation Association also offer databases for finding evaluators.

Evaluation Resources: Key resources including publications, databases, associations, guides and handbooks for integrating and managing evaluation.

Recently Added

  • Final Project Evaluation: Informal Education with Arachnids
    University of Nebraska Lincoln
    This report summarizes the evaluation results from the NSF funded Eight-Legged Encounters family event that uses arachnids as a hook to draw public interests towards science. The event involves informative and hands-on activities that bridge the gap [...]
  • Sense Making of Big Data: Front-end study on familiarity with terms
    Indiana University | Lifelong Learning Group
    To better understand how audiences in public spaces, in this case those in a museum setting, relate to and make sense of the phrases “Big Data” and “Data Visualizations”, this study investigated visitors understanding of these terms. This [...]
  • Meaning making through data representation: Construction and Deconstruction
    Indiana University | Lifelong Learning Group
    To better help museum visitors make sense of large data sets, also called “big data”, this study focuses on what museum visitors felt individual layers of a visual (alone and in combination with other layers) were communicating to them as the [...]