Collaborative Research: EvalFest (Evaluation Use, Value and Learning through Festivals of Science and Technology)
EvalFest (Evaluation Use, Value, and Learning through Festivals of Science and Technology) will test innovative evaluation methods in science festivals that are being held across the country and assess in what ways and how effectively they are used. Morehead Planetarium and Science Center (at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) and the University of California, San Francisco, in collaboration with over twenty science festivals, will (1) investigate whether a multisite evaluation approach is an effective model for creating common metrics for informal STEM education, (2) develop common methods to measure the effects of Festivals, (3) create a query-able database of 50,000 Festival attendees to share with the informal STEM learning field, and (4) document whether these efforts also result in new knowledge related to informal STEM education. The project will develop the Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) system and query-able database for the festival community. EFMs are systems, including processes and software, that enable groups (such as the festival network) to collect, organize, analyze and share data. The EFM system will be designed to integrate data across sites and to allow users to extract data of interest. The project will refine evaluation tools currently used within the Science Festival Alliance that assess self-reported festival learning, and the effects of festival attendance, motivation, and future science participation. It will collect economic impact data and longitudinal festival attendee data. The project will also develop some new evaluation tools such as secret shopper observational protocols. Data from festival attendees will be collected onsite at participating festivals.