An evolutionary view of educational improvement

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Rob Walker’s chapter presents some of the difficulties he has encountered in conducting naturalistic studies. First, naturalistic case studies are highly interventionist in effect if not in intent. Interviewing and observing people greatly affect what people do. And sharing one’s observations and conclusions with those people can cause intense reactions, as Walker illustrates. Second, naturalistic case studies often present distorted views of the world one is trying to portray. These distortions enter for a number of reasons and with sufficient power to transform the reality of the situation significantly. Finally, naturalistic studies are conservative in that they portray current practices and fix them in time although the reality of the actual situation changes even before the case study is written. Walker offers no panaceas for these problems of naturalistic research but suggests some ethical cautions the researcher/evaluator should attend to.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNew Directions in Educational Evaluation
EditorsErnest R House
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780203726129
ISBN (Print)9781850000488
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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