University of Rochester


Center For Research On
Education Outcomes

Benefits of Empirical Evidence

Reliable information on program performance does not occur spontaneously. Solid thinking, research, data collection, analysis and interpretation are necessary steps on the path to good empirical evidence on programs. Considering the investments of time, money and brainpower that are required, one might be challenged to justify the necessary resources. Here, then, is the Top Ten List of

BENEFITS OF EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE
(with apologies to Letterman)

10 It creates open mindedness willingness to test one's hunches includes accepting the chance of being wrong.
9 It creates humility even with a good batting average, at least once one will be proved wrong.
8 It depersonalizes issues numbers don't play favorites.
7 It motivates improvement the natural urge to do better next time kicks in.
6 It builds teamwork people get a chance to see how their piece fits into the whole.
5 It promotes clear thinking there is no use answering the wrong questions.
4 It is concrete the answer may not be palatable, but it can't be ignored.
3 It defeats rhetoric nothing pricks the balloon of conjecture better.
2 It creates community pro, con, or neutral, affected parties are interested.

And the Number One benefit:

1 It guides rational decision making and tradeoffs must occur in daylight.



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