Skip to main content
Woman writing word evaluation on wall full of sticky notes

Evaluation and Research

Evaluation is a process used to improve the design and function of educational experiences in informal learning environments and to measure progress toward goals. Research studies are designed to generate findings that will inform the broader field of informal science education.

Evaluation and Research Reports

Browse all Evaluation and Research Reports
Blue evaluation tools icon slide

Evaluation Tools

Professional development and capacity building evaluation tools for educators to improve their products and practices with the intent to more effectively engage public and professional audiences. Team-Based Inquiry (TBI) is a practical approach to empowering education professionals that involves an ongoing cycle of inquiry: question, investigate, reflect, and improve.
front-end evaluation icon

Front End Evaluation Reports List

During the early stages of a project, front-end evaluation is used to learn about visitors’ familiarity with a topic, their interests and feelings, and what understandings they will bring to the experience. Front-end evaluation work may include collecting data from visitors or reviewing literature from the field and related projects.
Formative Evaluation icon with blue background and image of a buckyball structure

Formative Evaluation Reports List

During the design and development stage of a project, formative evaluation is used to help achieve desired goals; formative evaluation involves iterative testing and modification of prototype exhibits, materials, and programs.
Summative Evaluation icon that incorporates a buckyball

Summative Evaluation Reports

At the end of a project, summative evaluation is used to assess the impact of a completed project; summative evaluation usually includes observing visitors while they experience a program or exhibit and interviewing or surveying them before and/or after this experience.
research reports icon with a blue background and a buckyball illustration

Research Reports

Research studies are designed to generate findings that will inform the broader field of informal science education. Research studies typically use methods similar to formative and summative evaluation, such as observations, interviews, and surveys with participants; however findings from these studies are often shared more widely to advance informal science education efforts.