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Evaluation of Environmental Education

West, Sarah (2013) Evaluation of Environmental Education. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Environmental education is a diverse field, carried out by many different types of organisations and individuals in a variety of formal and non-formal settings. In this era of accountability environmental educators are increasingly being asked to demonstrate the success of their projects through evaluation. In this thesis, I explore evaluation practice within environmental education in the UK from the perspectives of practitioners and their participants. I used a mixed-methods approach to discover what practitioners and participants feel are the outcomes of environmental education, comparing them with each other and the limited literature on the topic. Practitioners suggested a wide range of different outcomes, which I categorised into outcomes for the environment, for the individual, the wider community and the institution running the project. A particularly diverse range of outcomes for the individual were suggested by practitioners and their participants. Few studies have examined the evaluation practice of environmental education practitioners, but the literature suggests a lack of a culture of evaluation within the sector. Practitioners in my sample report evaluating their projects more frequently than is reported in the literature. However, I used the Kirkpatrick typology of evaluation to categorise the types of evaluation conducted by these practitioners and revealed that much of this is mainly a fairly superficial assessment of how much participants enjoyed the activities. The barriers practitioners face to evaluation is another understudied research area, and I divided the barriers discussed by practitioners and participants into methodological and practical barriers. Lack of time is the biggest challenge faced by practitioners, and this has implications for the quality of the evaluations that are conducted.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Evaluation, environmental education, participatory action research, mixed-methods
Academic Units: The University of York > Environment (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.605195
Depositing User: Mrs Sarah West
Date Deposited: 13 May 2014 11:15
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:30
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5491

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