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Title: 'It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know when someone is happy ...' : an exploration of what information is of meaning to educational psychologists when evaluating their work
Author: Lowther, C. L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 5077
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2012
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Evaluation is a central feature of Educational Psychologists' work because of a professional commitment to 'accountable and ethical' practice (Frederickson, 2002, p. 106) and to prove worth within the current financially restricted public sector. A number of studies have been published using different tools with which to undertake this evaluation, however, a consistent approach is yet to emerge. This may be due to a lack of consensus about what information constitutes legitimate evidence both within Educational Psychology and within the broader field of evidence- based practice. Although many authors have philosophised about acceptable sources and types of knowledge, no research has asked the question of what information Educational Psychologists find meaningful when they evaluate their work. Using a mixed methods approach, this research explores this question. Six Educational Psychologists working in a local authority Educational Psychology Service were interviewed about their experiences of their work and what information let them know that they had made an impact. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis a number of key themes emerged from the interviews. What the Educational Psychologists think about their role was prominent, as was the complexity of the work they undertake and the process of measuring the change they facilitate. A diverse range of information drawn upon as evidence that there has been change was described including standardised measures, qualitative feedback, target based evaluations and thinking, feeling, knowing, seeing and reflection or 'professional opinion'. In addition to the interviews, questionnaires were given to all Educational Psychologists in the same service attending a team development day. Quantitative findings equally suggest that a range of information is valued by Educational Psychologists when they evaluate their work. It is thus proposed that a tool which enables Educational Psychologists to collate different types of information from a number of sources may be useful when evaluating their practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ch.Ed.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available