Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure Summative Evaluation Report

November 1st, 2008 | EVALUATION

Independent investigator Knight Williams Research Communications conducted a summative evaluation for Sea Monsters. The evaluation consisted of three separate studies which sought to address the following broad questions: To what extent and in what ways did the film appeal to the viewers?, How did viewers react to the film's investigative storytelling and use of 3D?, How did viewers respond to the film in terms of clarity of presentation and the amount of information and science?, What were the most interesting things viewers felt they learned from the film?, What new information, ideas, and concepts did they learn about sea monsters, the age of the sea monsters, and research that paleontologists have conducted to learn about sea monsters of the Late Cretaceous period?, To what extent did they feel they were likely to recommend the film to others and seek out information about the age of the sea monsters?, To what extent did they discuss, think about, or engage in any film-related activities subsequent to viewing?, Through questionnaires and in-depth focus group discussions, the first two studies examined the impact of Sea Monsters on adults and young people who self-selected to view the film at the IMAX theater on Cannery Row in Monterey, California, a stand-alone theater within walking distance of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Through follow-up telephone interviews, the third study evaluated the longer-term influence of the film on adult viewers and whether and how they had used the project's outreach components. According to the evaluation, the findings show that Sea Monsters appealed to the Cannery Row IMAX viewers recruited for the evaluation and had a significant impact on their knowledge of prehistoric marine animals and the Late Cretaceous period during which these animals lived. Viewers consistently liked the film, thought the story was interesting, felt the film was visually exciting, clear, and struck the right balance in terms of the amount of information and science provided, and expected to recommend it to others. Viewers also generally estimated they learned a considerable amount from the film and were able to describe one or more interesting things that they learned. While viewers expected they were only neutral-to-somewhat likely to seek additional information about the age of the sea monsters upon leaving the theater, the follow-up telephone interviews revealed that all those interviewed made some connection with or took an action related to the film within two weeks of viewing.



Team Members

Valerie Knight-Williams, Evaluator, Knight-Williams Research Communications
National Geographic, Contributor
Divan Williams Jr., Evaluator, Knight-Williams Research Communications
Christina Meyers, Evaluator, Knight-Williams Research Communications
Ora Sraboyants, Evaluator, Knight-Williams Research Communications


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: AISL
Award Number: 0514981
Funding Amount: 2000000

Related URLs

Sea Monsters 3D: A Large-format Film and Outreach Program


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | Life science | Nature of science
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Films and IMAX | Media and Technology