Skip to main content

Evaluation and Research


Evaluation and Research both play important roles in the work of local and state education agencies. As Michigan Department of Education (MDE) works to conduct and apply both evaluation and research to inform programs, policies, initiatives, and potential funding internally, as well as inform the work in partnership with districts, schools, agencies, and other education stakeholders, it is important to come to a common understanding of Evaluation and Research. A workgroup including representation from all MDE offices, and external stakeholders with expertise in Evaluation 
and/or Research, was convened to define/describe Evaluation and Research. These descriptions will be used as a starting point for future work by MDE in the areas of both Evaluation and Research both internally and in partnership externally. 


Evaluation is a systematic method for collecting, analyzing, and using information to examine benefit, impact, effectiveness, efficacy, significance, and/or worth of practices, programs, strategies, interventions, and initiatives. The findings of the evaluation are used for decision-making by stakeholders including, but not limited to, planning and improving these efforts. 

Evaluation may be a type of research, but not all research is evaluation. 

Research is the process of systematically collecting information and data in order to extend knowledge and understanding. Research activities involve asking a question, and then consulting existing information on the topic, and/or collecting new evidence and data through a variety of methods.