ERIC Number: ED220061
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-May
Policy Analysis: The New Reality for Institutional Research. AIR Forum 1982 Paper.
Parker, John D.; Fenske, Robert H.
The problems and opportunities for institutional research in academe as it becomes increasingly policy analytic in activity and orientation are explored. It is suggested that for the 1980s the most viable and dynamic role for institutional research will be in providing leaders in higher education institutions with policy-relevant knowledge in order that they may become more effective participants in the policy process. Knowledge, especially decision-relevant knowledge, is frequently confused with information. Knowledge is information that has been interpreted and about which some significance has been discovered. The knowledge-development process can be viewed as a process in which there are three distinct, but sequential stages: data, information, and knowledge. Data is defined as a discrete measurement. Information results when data are logically combined, and this process enlarges meaning within a specific context. Information is usually a direct result of some form of data processing and is almost always situation- and time-specific. Knowledge is the result of some form of research activity, and it leads to insight and understanding. It is argued that too much time and effort have been spent in producing information, and too little has been spent in analysis and interpretation. General characteristics of the policy-analytic approach are described as follows: problem-identification, alternatives-development, consequences-prediction, outcomes-evaluation, and policy-recommendation. The impact of using policy analysis in institutional research is discussed and depicted in a diagram that includes levels of operation, activity, client, purpose, and other participants. The evolution of institutional research as a profession is also briefly traced. (SW)
Descriptors: Change Strategies, College Administration, Decision Making, Educational Assessment, Educational Policy, Higher Education, Information Needs, Institutional Research, Linking Agents, Needs Assessment, Policy Formation, Problem Solving, Program Evaluation, Research Needs, Research Utilization
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A