Sampling/ Evaluation Tools

Sampling/ Evaluation Tools

Diamond,J. Horn, M.& Uttal, D.H. (2016). Ch5: Selecting Study Participants and Ch6: Observational Tools In: Practical Evaluation Guide. Roman & Littlefield, London. Pp. 43-64.


The piece starts by giving a definition of terms in the context of evaluation;

Quantitive = data that can be represented using numbers (quantity) like a sample for average shoe size, height, and fingernail length.

Qualitative = data represented with words, used to find the quality of something, usually good for finding the important issues regarding your research. More often used in behavioural enquires.

Validity = is the method chosen to measure appropriate for what you are trying to gauge. 

Reliability = how consistent is your method. Are you measuring the same thing, the same way, each time?


Chapter 5 talks about issues of sampling, how to select your sample, it’s size, and how to gain access. 40-60 people required to provide for most quantitative analysis.


Chapter 6 covers 4 different observational tools;

counting = literally counting people to see which days/times/exhibits people come/go. 


Tracking movements = good for finding how people move through the gallery/exhibit/space. A series of researchers in the 1920-30s found, all things being equal, visitors in a gallery will turn right, follow the right hand wall, and spend less time with works as they get closer to the exit. To track a family or groups movement; pick one person in the group and monitor how they use the space/time spent at each work/which works... there’s also a breakdown of some categories to measure by; heavy, medium, and light interaction/ fast or slow.


Basic observations = a basic list of brief observations; person looked at exhibit/ interacted with it/ left comment/ question related to exhibit/ none... 


detailed observation = defining a specific set of behaviours to measure, security footage can be used, following people around (without being creepy), asking to casually join a group in the space... this method is used to understand how informal learning occurs. To use this method you have to create an ethnogram; “a list of the major categories of behaviours a species displays”, so watch people in the space and note notable stuff they do (and stuff you expect other people to do if not seen right away). Once you’ve got a list of behaviours, abbreviate them for quick notation, record their interactions using a string of your chosen abbreviations, and by their exit you’ll have a “sentence” of behavioural data you can create detailed stuff from.


Peoples privacy and consent are needed for proper use of the observational tools mentioned in this piece, a poster advertising what’s happening in the space or a heads up as they come in. 


Chapter 7 mentions the importance of attempting a non-biased interview.


Note: I didn’t really understand the table of sample data (pg46 table 5.2) so if anyone has a wee heads up on what +/- 3% or +/-10% sampling error mean, I’m all ears. (link to reading)


Positive Emotions & Flow: Encouraging Creativity and Commitment

Positive Emotions & Flow: Encouraging Creativity and Commitment

Evaluation of an exhibition after opening

Evaluation of an exhibition after opening