The use of the ethnographic method in evaluating nontraditional continuing education programs Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2r36v151q

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  • The purpose of this research was to test the effectiveness of the ethnographic method as a tool for evaluating nontraditional adult and continuing education programs. The program evaluated was the Oregon Heritage Festival, a four-week Summer Term activity designed to eclectically draw upon the arts, humanities, and science to illustrate and explore Oregon's technological, social, and ideological history. Specific research techniques for data collection were a three-year participant observation process, in-depth interviews of university administrators and community leaders, and a survey questionnaire administered to a nonrandom group of persons attending festival events. Analysis procedures entailed qualitative and quantitative observations, or triangulation. Cross-tabulation, a type of frequency distribution, was used for statistical analysis. Due to the time and expense involved in this study, a modified research design would probably be needed in order to conduct an evaluation on a similar scale. Less detailed interviewing and less time for participant observation most likely would be required for other nontraditional continuing education program evaluations. However, information was discovered through the ethnographic process that might not have been determined through the use of other methods. A clear potential exists for the ethnographic method to be used in evaluating many types of adult and continuing education programs; however, further research is needed to better understand the application of ethnography to the evaluation of adult and continuing education programs.
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