The Botany of Desire Summative Evaluation Report

November 1st, 2010 | EVALUATION

This report reviews the findings from The Botany of Desire summative evaluation as supported by the responses of the adult audience that viewed and gave feedback on the PBS version of the program when viewed at home. The evaluation examined the appeal, clarity, and educational impact of the program, focusing on the goals identified in the project's grant proposal to the Informal Science Education (ISE) division of the National Science Foundation (NSF), which provided funding for both The Botany of Desire project and the independent evaluation. These goals focused on educating Viewers about: Biodiversity and genetic diversity in domesticated plant species, and in particular about: a) the importance of biodiversity and genetic diversity in both domesticated and wild plant species, and b) the risks to - and consequences of the loss of - biodiversity and genetic diversity in domesticated plant species. The connected nature of plants and people, and in particular that human desires continue to be intertwined with the evolution of diverse plants, and by extension affect global economic and ecological systems. The human impacts on the evolution and biodiversity of domesticated plants, as well as global economic and ecological systems. The global agricultural/economic implications of preserving biodiversity. Individuals' participation in the reciprocal relationship between people and plants through their choices of plants and foods. How individual gardeners and consumers can affect biodiversity by making educated choices in the plants and foods they use. The value of pursuing conversations with family members, friends, or co-workers about food, plant, and land use choices and/or by taking positive actions regarding such choices. The evaluation design comprised a two-group posttest only randomized study of recruited Viewers experience viewing The Botany of Desire in an at-home setting, as compared to a group of Control participants who didn't view the program but who completed the same set of demographic/background questions and a quiz on the program related to the history and characteristics of the apple, tulip, cannabis, and potatoes. Viewers were also asked a series of qualitative questions to explore their learning from the program and what they found to be most interesting, salient, surprising, and personally impactful. In addition Viewers rated and provided feedback on the program's appeal, clarity, production values, storytelling, and density of information and science. Finally, the evaluation further explored the longer-term impact of the program within a few weeks of viewing, in this case focusing on the extent to which Viewers made personal connections with the program and discussed, thought about, or engaged in any program-related activities.



Team Members

Valerie Knight-Williams, Evaluator, Knight Williams Inc.
Kikim Media, Contributor
Divan Williams Jr., Evaluator, Knight Williams Inc.
Eveen Chan, Evaluator, Knight Williams Inc.
Ora Grinberg, Evaluator, Knight Williams Inc.
Tal Sraboyants, Evaluator, Knight Williams Inc.
David Tower, Evaluator, Knight Williams Inc.


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0307967
Funding Amount: 891965

Related URLs

The Botany of Desire Television Documentary


Audience: Evaluators | Families | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Education and learning science | Life science
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology