Evaluative research is generally defined as a study methodology that employs the practice of standard social research techniques for evaluative purposes, as exact research technique, and as a valuation process that employs distinctive methods exclusive to the evaluation of social programs (Powell, 2006). On the other hand, action research is defined as a well-organized process of analysis conducted by and for the people participating in the action primarily for refining or improving the actor’s actions (Sagor, 2000).
Similarities in the Action Research Cycle and the Planning-Evaluation Cycle
Although the evaluative research defer slightly in definition with the action research cycle, they are similar in the structure and procedure they employ to achieve their targeted goals. For instance, the action research involves selecting a focus as the first step of the process while the planning and evaluation research employs the formulation of the issue or problem. These two processes are similar in the sense that they aim in identifying the problem with the intention of finding the best solution at the end of the research process (Matthews & Kostelis, 2011). Secondly, the action research cycle employs the technique of clarifying theories on the particular issue which is similar to planning and evaluation research that adopts the conceptualization of the available major alternatives. Thirdly, identifying the research questions in action research is similar to designing of the research in planning and evaluation research. The fourth step is collecting data and analyzing it which is realized in both research methodologies. Finally, the results of the analysis are considered and the best alternative or finding is implemented in solving or addressing the issue at hand (Trochim, 2006).
Generally, it can be observed that action and planning-evaluation research cycles are similar in their structure and methodological approach towards solving a problem. However, it should be noted that they are usually applied in different grounds.
Matthews & Kostelis, (2011). Designing and Conducting Research in Health and Human Performance. Retrieved from http://online.vitalsource.com
Powell, R. R. (2006). Evaluation Research: An Overview. Library Trends, 55(1), 102-120.
Sagor. R. (2000). Guiding School Improvement with Action Research. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/100047/chapters/What-Is-Action-Research%C2%A2.aspx
Trochim, W.K. (2006). The Planning-evaluation Cycle. Retrieved from http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/pecycle.php