Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Michael A. Harner, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Amy Gullickson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Sarah Mason, Ph.D.


Approaches, axiology, epistemology, evaluation, ontology, working logic


The purpose of the study is to enhance the selection and use of selected contemporary evaluation approaches through the development of a descriptive profile that combines the parameters of their working logics and their philosophical assumptions. The profile provides a unique structure to understand, identify, select, and apply evaluation approaches. I catalogued 86 evaluation approaches described in 13 sources that discuss multiple evaluation approaches and applied citation analysis to identify the most used or most quickly growing approaches. For 11 of the commonly used evaluation approaches, I identified the seven features of the feature profiles through a qualitative content analysis of primary source documents and member-check interviews with individuals who are the authors of highly referenced published scholarly articles and books about the approaches. I identified the features of 11 contemporary evaluation approaches that describe the approaches as unique in terms of the combination of the phenomenon, problem, question, and claim types of their working logics and of the terms of their ontological, epistemological, and axiological assumptions. I developed an extended list of parameter types and philosophical assumptions and documented challenges to and solutions for identifying those features of evaluation approaches. The study concludes that evaluation approaches have working logics that can be and have been described by their phenomena, problem, question, and claim types. Their ontological, epistemological, and axiological assumption can be and have been described. The combination of those seven features creates unique views of the approaches. Their philosophical assumptions are not uniquely reflected in the parameters of the working assumptions. The results are limited to the extent that any qualitative research is limited by the researcher’s perspective. There were two contemporary evaluation approaches not included in the study.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Epistemology Commons