Evaluation is significant because it provides individuals with some data regarding a particular issue. In basic terms, the process refers to assessing an object or abstract phenomenon based on specific criteria, including quantity, quality, value, and many others. This process also produces evaluation information that is quite useful and can be used in different areas. The concept under consideration and its usefulness have been approached differently over time, and the integrated model of influence seems appropriate for that purpose. Thus, evaluation information is useful in the spheres of education, research, and healthcare, while the integrated theory of influence explains how it is possible to assess its significance.
Evaluation Information in Different Areas
Evaluation information has found its practical application in the educational sphere. This statement refers to the fact that student evaluation of teaching is appropriate to sophisticate a learning environment. According to Nsibande (2020), this information can be used to identify students’ involvement in the educational process, how they assess learning approaches, and what challenges they typically have. In other words, these findings demonstrate what learners think of education and how they assess it. Based on this information, one can suppose that focusing on educators can also be significant because these individuals are essential stakeholders in the learning process. If they are a source of such information, these data can reveal the effectiveness of existing learning programs and approaches, professors’ suggestions on how to improve the current learning process, and others. Consequently, education can benefit from evaluation information because the latter is helpful in identifying how the stakeholders assess the area and what improvements are possible or even required.
Furthermore, evaluation information can bring essential advantages to a research field. Numerous academic papers draw sufficient attention to ensure that they deal with crucial and credible data, irrespective of what sources they use (Washtenaw Community College, 2020). That is why various evaluation processes are used because they allow for coping with the task. Consequently, the research field produces a vast amount of evaluation information, and it can be used in arriving at valid conclusions. For example, these aggregated data can indicate that some sources offer more credible information compared to others. In addition to that, this evaluation information is useful since it helps researchers save their time and effort because they can access the already analyzed data rather than collecting it. As a result, there is no doubt that the phenomenon under analysis offers many pros to the scientific area.
Moreover, evaluation information can positively affect the entire healthcare industry. The rationale behind this statement is that the World Health Information (WHO) draws significant attention to the idea of evaluation. In particular, the WHO (2013) defines the concept as “an assessment, as systematic and impartial as possible, of an activity, project, program, strategy, policy, topic, theme, sector, operational area, institutional performance” (p. 1). Such a broad definition indicates that the medical sphere can use evaluation information in numerous areas. Since the WHO, a leading body in the field, focuses on this information, it is possible to suppose that lower institutions, including hospitals, also follow the same strategy. As a result, the medical industry is considered to have a large amount of evaluation information that reveals whether it is appropriate to use this or that strategy to respond to a particular challenge.
The findings above demonstrate that it is challenging to overestimate the usefulness of the evaluation information. Research activities allowed for identifying essential advantages of the phenomenon under consideration in different spheres. Healthcare professionals, scientists, students, and professors significantly benefit from relying on this information. That is why it is possible to suppose that this phenomenon offers some positive features to many other areas of human life. This statement denotes that numerous specialists are encouraged to draw attention to the evaluation information.
Relying on the Integrated Theory of Influence
The evaluation information concept is closely connected with influence because the latter can directly reveal the helpfulness of this information and its effects. When it is necessary to assess the quality of evaluation, it is reasonable to determine what measurement factors to use. For that purpose, Kirkhart (2000) offered the integrated theory of influence that relied on three dimensions, including “source of influence, intention, and time frame” (p. 8). The following paragraphs will comment on each of them to explain how the evaluation information can be considered useful.
Firstly, it is reasonable to comment on the importance of the source of influence. This concept refers to “an active agent or starting point of the influence” (Johnson et al., 2014, p. 21). The impact is findings-based if it relies on the information produced during evaluation and process-based when the process of conducting evaluation is a focus (Johnson et al., 2014). Consequently, information can impact individuals or organizations if it offers some valuable findings or if it has been identified through a reputable process.
Secondly, one should focus on the intention to assess the influence of information. According to Alkin and King (2017), an impact can be intended and unintended. The former aspect reveals whether the obtained results meet those that were initially planned before the evaluation. Simultaneously, unintentional influence occurs when some unexpected outcomes arrive (Kirkhart, 2000). This information denotes that the evaluation process can generate unpredictable results that can significantly affect the information’s usefulness.
Thirdly, time is used to determine the influence of the evaluation information. According to King and Alkin (2019), this category implies immediate, end-of-cycle, and long-term impact. The effect is immediate when it becomes evident parallel to the evaluation process (Kirkhart, 2000). An end-of-cycle impact implies that a particular evaluation study is completed, and its conclusions affect individuals or organizations. As for long-term influence, it refers to those effects that occur over an extended period of time and cannot be felt immediately (Kirkhart, 2000). Consequently, if one wants to assess the usefulness of the evaluation information, it is necessary to understand that it can be uncovered over various periods of time.
The evaluation information is significant in the modern world because this phenomenon offers benefits to many areas. For example, sufficient evidence reveals that the healthcare, scientific, and educational fields witness beneficial effects, and this finding allows for supposing that many other spheres also face multiple advantages. When it comes to assessing the usefulness of the evaluation information, it is reasonable to focus on the integrated model of influence because it helps find an answer to this question. This theoretical framework focuses on three dimensions, including the source of information, intention, and time. Each of them is further subdivided into some subcategories that offer guidelines on assessing the influence of data. When these data are obtained, it is possible to make reasonable conclusions about the usefulness of the evaluation information.
Alkin, M. C., & King, J. A. (2017). Definitions of evaluation use and misuse, evaluation influence, and factors affecting use. American Journal of Evaluation, 38(3), 434-450. Web.
Johnson, J. L., Guetterman, T. C., & Thompson, R. (2014). An integrated model of influence: Use of assessment data in higher education. Research & Practice in Assessment, 9, 18-30.
King, J. A., & Alkin, M. C. (2019). The centrality of use: Theories of evaluation use and influence and thoughts on the first 50 years of use research. American Journal of Evaluation, 40(3), 431-458. Web.
Kirkhart, K. E. (2000). Reconceptualizing evaluation use: An integrated theory of influence. New Directions for Evaluation, 2000(88), 5-23. Web.
Nsibande, R. (2020). From use to influence: Student evaluation of teaching and the professional development of academics in higher education. Critical Studies in Teaching & Learning, 8(1), 133-152. Web.
Washtenaw Community College. (2020). Web searching and web evaluation. Web.
World Health Organization. (2013). WHO evaluation practice handbook [PDF document]. Web.