ERIC Number: ED398972
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Aug-6
Reference Count: N/A
Trends in Institutional Research.
Cohen, Arthur M.
Since the inaugural meeting of the Southeastern Association of Community College Research in 1975, the research conducted at community colleges, as well as the issues facing researchers, have remained fairly constant. Research has been consistently understaffed and the themes of research have tended to focus on relating student progress to placement, surveying local communities, reviewing programs, and conducting student follow-ups. Moreover, the general purposes for conducting institutional research have remained constant in that the first purpose is still public relations. The need to satisfy external agencies has caused the colleges to value anything that makes the school look good and to avoid anything that casts a negative light on the institution. Institutional researchers must also contend with the need for educators to believe what they want to believe. An example of this is the frequently reported study showing that problems with students in the 1990s have profoundly worsened since the 1940s. Even after the study was found to be a hoax, it was continually repeated. Finally, in approaching their task, institutional researchers should consider the following points: (1) make sure that data is readily understandable; (2) understand public relations; (3) employ valid methodology; (4) study important questions; (5) perform repeat studies; (6) make use of external resources; (7) include only the data that is relevant to the research topic; and (8) understand the resistance to outcomes data in higher education. (HAA)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association for Community College Research (25th, Panama City, FL, August 5-7, 1996).