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|Selecting your Student Sample|
Carrying out an evaluation involves time for both you and your students. Whether it is time taken out of a lecture or during a lunch hour, it is time away from a student's study or social time. Therefore, before you start, it is important to be clear in what you want to find out from your evaluation, which evaluation method is going to be the most appropriate for your needs and how many students it is going to be appropriate and practical to include in your study.
How you go about selecting your student sample will have an effect both on the information gathered and the impact that your findings might have. A number of sampling options are possible but it is worth bearing in mind what the benefits and limitations of each might be.
Letting your sample select itself:
However, you can gain a snapshot impression of students' general opinions. Watch that you don't try to draw any major conclusions from the responses of a small section of a class sampled in this way. Individuals who just happened to turn up at the last lecture of the term can have very different reactions to the majority of the class with whom you are planning to use a computer package during the following year.
Asking for volunteers:
However, when you are carrying out a fairly extensive and time consuming evaluation study, you are probably going to depend on the good will of people who are motivated enough to volunteer to help.
Selecting the sample yourself:
Watch, however, that by selecting one group from a class and involving them in an evaluation study you are not perceived as giving one group of students additional / better / preferential support or tutoring than the rest of the class. It can be easy for students complain that they feel disadvantaged from their peer group in some way.
Involving the whole class in the evaluation study:
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Last modified: 25 March 1999.