C5 - Using master's projects to evaluate researcher development activities

Day 2 at 11:00 - Using master's students to carry out evaluations of researcher development activities is attractive from the perspective of providing willing and interested people to do the time consuming work, but poses certain challenges in ensuring that the learning outcomes meet those expected for a master's project while also delivering high quality evaluations. Carried out successfully, this approach can enhance institutional capacity for evaluation and help to embed evaluation within normal researcher development business. However, any failings can have consequences much wider that the evaluation project in question. This workshop explored the challenges and benefits of using master's student projects to evaluate researcher development activities. The experiences of designing and supervising a number of these projects was shared with participants while also collecting and collating their concerns and experiences of such approaches. In particular the presentation and discussions focussed on four important elements: the importance of project design; student selection, supervisory approaches during the project and post project elements. In addition to the above, participants had the opportunity to engage with the evaluation case studies presented and discuss the various approaches and outcomes. Strand - All Researchers (practice).
Day Day 2
Session C
Start time 11.00
Strand All Researchers (practice)
Code C5
Presenters Dr Rob Daley - Director of Researcher Development, University of York


Topics covered:

  • setting the stage for using student projects to evaluate researcher development provision
  • structuring the evaluation project as a learning experience
  • managing the student learning during the project
  • filling in the gaps post-project
  • final thoughts and future developments.

Workshop outcomes:


  • engaged with, reflected on and learned from a wide range of evaluation projects
  • gained a greater awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of using students projects as an evaluation approach
  • gained greater awareness of different evaluation techniques and the use of mixed methods approaches to evaluation
  • explored using student projects to evaluate researcher development in their own institution.


Interactive workshop: a blend of presentation, discussion and group based activities.