Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Research Methods and Information Science, Research Methods and Statistics

First Advisor

Duan Zhang

Second Advisor

Antonio Olmos

Third Advisor

Nicholas Cutforth


Evaluation methods, Grounded theory, Mixed methods


The goal of this explanatory sequential mixed method study was to assess whether there were observable trends, associations, or group differences in evaluation methodology by settings and content area in published evaluations from the past ten years (quantitative), to illuminate how evaluation practitioners selected these methodologies (qualitative), and assess how emergent findings from each phase fit together or helped contextualize each other. In this study, methodology was operationalized as research tradition and method was operationalized as research design. For phase one (quantitative), a systematized ten-year review of five peer-reviewed evaluation journals was conducted and coded by journal, research tradition, research design, first author setting, evaluation content area, and publication year. These results were first reported descriptively and then considered for inferential modeling. For phase two (qualitative), interviews, which were informed by the findings that emerged in the quantitative phase, were conducted with a purposive sample of 15 practitioners to gain insight into how practitioners make methodological choices. In phase three (integration), findings were integrated to contextualize emergent learnings from each phase. Evidence of statistically significant associations between research tradition, design, first author setting, and content area were discovered. There were no statistically significant associations observed between either research tradition and publication year or research design and publication year. There was also evidence that evaluations conducted in the quantitative research tradition, as well as experimental designs, were overrepresented in the evaluation literature within the timeframe being reviewed. Finally, this study’s procedures generated a hypothesized grounded theory of how evaluators select methods that provided explanation for phase one findings; this theory should be tested by future researchers.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Margaret Schultz Patel


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

95 pgs


Social research, Statistics