Frequently asked questions

The following questions about our evaluation tools are based on feedback from event organisers.

If you have questions you would like added to this list, please send them to Jo Elliott.

How should I evaluate my event?

How you choose to evaluate your event really depends on the type of event you are running and the audience you are targeting. Surveys are a relatively simple evaluation method that can tell you a lot, so many people choose to use surveys, either paper-based or online. However, you can also conduct observations of your audience, have staff ask attendees questions, or conduct a simple bean poll. Different evaluation methods are discussed in more detail on the relevant.

What kind of questions should I ask?

The questions you should ask depend on your event objectives. What are you trying to achieve with your event? What do you want people to do as a result of attending? The development of this Resource Kit was informed by the Inspiring Learning Framework, which proposes five Generic Learning Outcomes (GLOs) and by Friedman and colleagues’ Framework for Evaluating Impacts of Informal Science Education Projects. The GLOs are reflected in the common questions in each survey template and the suggested open-ended questions. It is anticipated that at least one of these outcomes will be applicable to most science engagement events.

How many responses do I need?

There is no magic number to tell you how many responses to collect. The ideal number of responses depends on the size of your audience, the information you are collecting and the level of variation you expect in responses. For example, if you expect that responses are going to be highly variable, more responses are needed for the sample to be representative of the whole audience.

Why is there an “other” option for gender on the survey templates? My event is for school children – how do I explain this to them?

The “other” option is provided in acknowledgement and respect of the fact that not everyone identifies with their biological gender, or indeed as either male or female.

In our experience of working with school children, sometimes children might giggle when they notice the “other” option, as this is not an idea they may have encountered before. In these cases, it is often helpful to make a simple, respectful statement, such as the following:

“OK everyone, I know that for most people it is easy to say which gender you are, but for some people it is not that simple. This is not a joke; it is a perfectly valid response, and I ask that you respect that.”

In our experience, school children have responded well to this statement and continued on to the rest of the survey without further comment.