ABSTRACT

This chapter considers all aspects of current museum evaluation work: how we are using qualitative approaches, why we are doing it and how rigorous each step of the process ought to be. It aims to challenge professional ideas and practice, not just of those who undertake evaluation work, but also of those who read and use it to improve their practice in education, display and visitor services. The chapter shows that rigour is a central element in our evaluation work. It considers the planning, reliability of data, use of validation and how we write it. It also means being reflexive about the work, acknowledging our background and epistemological stances in our reports. This reflexive practice should also help practitioners consider the ethical aspects of consulting with visitors, resulting in their empowerment in the process to improve museum experience. It informs those not familiar with its approach so that they will believe in its capacity to reach new levels of authenticity.