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Is program evaluation research?

In the previous entry I wrote about two steps that help close the loop between research and Extension (or engagement): conducting research and conducting program evaluation. When I presented this at Purdue's Scholarship of Engagement workshop, a participant asked how I differentiate between research and program evaluation.

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For the purpose of the "closing the loop" diagram, I was thinking of research as applied, scholarly investigation, which may or may not have an intended application to an engagement or outreach program. Really, I was envisioning laboratories and experimental plots.

But I also see many kinds of program evaluation as research; certainly evaluation requires the application of research methods (e.g., cost-benefit analysis, survey data analysis, economic impact analysis). However, it may not be the kind of research that subject-matter scholars (e.g., scientists and social scientists) can publish in their own fields' professional journals. So, I think some program evaluation is research and some research is program evaluation. Am I right? Is there more to the distinction than I am making here?

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