Discusses the usefulness of a research design consisting of a series of short experiments that mutate through successive generations and describes its use in the Spartanburg, S. C., interactive cable TV education program. Controversy about the role of evaluation in a demonstration of new communication systems can develop between project personnel and evaluators, particularly when the intervention appears ineffective. Using a series of short experiments in which the manager is committed to holding each discrete experimental intervention constant enhances rigorous evaluation, and provides the manager with a valuable planning tool. In a series of experiments in Spartanburg, classroom observation data are shown to have provided a better understanding of the teaching dynamics in a two-way cable education program, and provided a means of improving the instruction.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.