Research and Evaluation

Current Work

The CSW Network is engaged in an ongoing research project with the Exploratorium through participation in the California Tinkering Afterschool Network.  A team of educational researchers on the Exploratorium staff are compiling field notes, video, and interviews on tinkering programs at the Watsonville and Fresno Community Science Workshops.  Results of this work will be published here as they are available.

The CSW Network conducts ongoing evaluation of CSW programs, through annual student surveys as well as program overview studies.  These results are used internally to improve CSW programs, and will be published in summary form here starting in Spring of 2015.

Past Work

There have been several published reports and studies documenting the success of the CSW Network and the impact of Community Science Workshop programming on youth at member sites:

2014: Inverness Research conducted an extensive evaluation review of the CSW Network’s efforts to build a statewide infrastructure of support for CSW sites from 2011 – 2013.  The report includes case studies profiling the programs and impacts of each CSW site, and quantitative data from CSW-specific metrics designed by the Network to capture the impact of CSW programming on students’ engagement, self-identity, skills, and choices in science education.

2014 CSW Network Analysis and Report by Inverness Research

2012:  SRI International completed a comprehensive evaluation of the California Tinkering Network: a pilot-stage collaboration initiated by the Exploratorium to develop a coherent, stable model for propagating making and tinkering education programs throughout the state.  The Watsonville and Fresno CSW sites participated in the CA Tinkering Network as regional innovation hubs, and contributed their expertise in designing and operating science making programs to the larger group by conducting trainings and presenting success stories and best practices.

2012 California Tinkering Network Pilot Stage Final Report by SRI

1995 – 2009:  Inverness Research published a CSW evaluation portfolio documenting the three NSF dissemination grants awarded to replicate the Mission Science Workshop model across the state and across the country.  Read the full portfolio at the link, below, for an analysis of the successes and challenges of this expansion, demographics served, narratives describing the unique opportunities available to youth at a CSW, and first-person testimonials from individuals whose lives have been touched by the Community Science Workshops.

1995 – 2009 CSW Evaluation Portfolio by Inverness Research