Public Impacts Summative Evaluation: Study 3

Date: 
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Resource Type:
Research and Evaluation Instruments | Observation Protocol | Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: 
Museum and Science Center Programs, Museum and Science Center Exhibits
Audience: 
General Public | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
Discipline: 
Education and learning science | Technology
Organization:
Museum of Science, Boston, Museum of Science, Nanoscale Informal Science Education (NISE) Network
Description: 

The NISE Net Public Impacts Summative Evaluation focuses on measuring the public outcomes and impacts of NISE Net activities. The design of the evaluation studies is driven by a program theory model that maps the pathways NISE Net has developed for delivering nanoscale science, engineering and technology (NSET) programs and exhibits to the public, as identified by the summative evaluation team. Built into the NISE Net program theory model is an assumption that the Network will reach a large number of people by distributing the Network's public outreach efforts across a large number of institutions. The decentralized nature of the Network, however, makes it difficult to know how many people are being reached through these efforts. This study, therefore, looked specifically at one question: Approximately how many people participated in NISE Net public outreach activities during NanoDays 2009? This study builds upon the output data from the lead/node institutions that NISE Net administration began to collect during Year 3. This study expands the scope of the visitor counting to include sampling from additional partner institutions that hosted NanoDays events in 2009. This study is intended as a pilot study for the Year 5 study that will cover all of the NISE Net public outreach activities conducted by subawardees, regional partners and appropriators. This would include, but not be limited to, NanoDays 2010. The focus of this study is to pilot test counting methods that approximate actual participation across hundreds of institutions. It was hoped that this pilot test would not only yield information about how to count accurately and effectively, but also provide an approximation of participation for NanoDays 2009. The counting study took place during NanoDays 2009. This nine-day long event occurred between March 28 and April 5, 2009. Two data collection instruments were utilized to generate an estimate of the total number of public participants during NanoDays 2009: the counting protocol and the NanoDays report. The counting protocol was used to generate estimates for the number of people who participate in a NISE Net program or activity of a certain type. The NanoDays report was used to capture the number of activities of different program types that were hosted across all of the participating institutions. Combining these data provides an estimate of the number of people who experienced NanoDays activities across the 200 institutions that received NanoDays kits. (Number of activities x average Number of people per activity= total number of participants).Findings from this study suggest that approximately 371,917 to 425,107 people participated in NanoDays 2009. The data validity review, however, suggests that this is an overestimation of the actual number of participants. The findings section provides details on the data that was used to derive this approximation. The limitations section presents a summary of the possible sources of the overestimation as well as possible ways these sources of the overestimation can be addressed in Year 5. The appendix of this report includes the observation protocol used in the study.

Funder(s): 
NSF
Funding Program: 
NSEC; Materials Centers & Education; NUE; Collaborative Research; NIRT; AISL
Award Number: 
0532536
Funding Amount: 
19999169

Team Members

Christine ReichChristine ReichEvaluator
Juli GossJuli GossEvaluator

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