Advancing Empirical Scholarship to Further Develop Evaluation Theory and Practice

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Good theory development is grounded in empirical inquiry. In the context of educational evaluation, the development of empirically grounded theory has important benefits for the field and the practitioner. In particular, a shift to empirically derived theory will assist in advancing more systematic and contextually relevant evaluation practice, as well as lead to the development of contingency theories that specify the conditions under which particular evaluation practices are optimal. In contrast to the historical outside-in stance, empirical research on the field of evaluation must acknowledge practitioners as "knowers," allowing for unique insights into the intersection of theory and practice.

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