Cinderella's Slipper: Research, Quasi Research, Rad Research, Small Scale Evaluations and the Search for the Right Fit
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In this article, I provide an overview of what our field recognizes as the most useful taxonomies of research. Based on this overview, I argue, via specific examples of published research, that we sometimes conflate simplicity with the simplistic. I conclude by offering an example of a quasi-experiment based on data I have collected that investigates statistical correlations between five factors: a student’s satisfaction with space, tutor’s knowledge, tutor’s ability to share knowledge, student’s likeliness to return to the center, and student’s likeliness to recommend the center. Center directors have the most control over internal factors: who is hired as a tutor, what criteria are used to hire, and how tutors are trained. However, my data shows that these internal factors have less influence on students’ perceptions of the center than external factors such as space. Finally, if space is the most important factor in determining students’ perceptions of center, and center directors have little or no influence over that factor, are directors being unfairly evaluated when their administration looks at their ability to retain current center users, and bring in more? I conclude by exhorting other directors of other centers to share their own data, so that we can all learn from each other’s experiences.