‘Bums on Seats’ or ‘Listening to Voices’: The nature and role of evaluation research in the ‘Widening Participation Agenda’ of the 1990’s and beyond

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The current policy climate in the UK prioritises not just increasing access to higher education but widening participation amongst non-traditional groups. This work, however, should not just be founded on good intentions, but be supported by research, evaluation and dissemination. This paper will outline the importance and process of evaluation research in the widening participation agenda. It rejects predominantly positivist and value-for-money approaches in favour of a pragmatic evaluation paradigm, drawing from participatory action research. Using this approach, evaluation is not just done by academic researchers to others, but stakeholders, including community members and practitioners, are involved and given a voice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-113
JournalStudies in Continuing Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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