This module will look closely at approaches to evaluation and research through a number of small-scale research projects. It will offer trainees the opportunity to develop experience and knowledge of a range of methods and approaches to evaluation and research, including quantitative and qualitative methods and case studies, within the context of informal education and learning. This will also include training using more traditional methods, e.g. surveys, focus groups and participant observations, as well as more innovative methods, e.g. snap shot and dart board.
A main focus of the module is to develop reflective practitioners. Participants will be trained to reflect on their own practices by collecting evidence through various methods, such as portfolios of evidence and reflective diaries, which will document the impact of their public engagement activities.
Participants will be shown case studies and best practice of research and evaluation from the botanic gardens and museum sector and will be trained on how to develop a Research and Evaluation framework and strategy so that these elements can be embedded at an organisational level.
This module will also cover how to use audience research to improve botanic gardens’ accessibility and equity. This will support botanic gardens to improve the quality of experiences they offer to current and new audiences to make their sites and activities more accessible to people from a variety of backgrounds and ensure better engagement of the public with what they consider to be the most important issues and messages relevant to the work of the garden.