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Designing an evaluation strategy for a large-scale science and arts festival using Science in the City, Malta as a case study

Authors: Edward Duca, Simone Cutajar, Simona Seligova

Corresponding: Edward Duca (edward.duca@um.edu.mt)

Keywords: Public engagement with science and technology, Informal learning, Science festival, Evaluation strategy, Qualitative data, Quantitative data

Doi: 10.7423/XJENZA.2022.2.03

Abstract:
In this work, we analyse and present a step-by-step guide on how to set up a valuable and informative mixed method evaluation strategy of large-scale science festivals and events. A literature analysis helped identify the best technique to set up a multi-approach methodology (multiple-choice questionnaire and silent observers). Questionnaire data was to be collected using systematic sampling. The approach was applied to a local case study to develop a best practice. Its implementation was analysed and assessed to provide festival organisers with useful recommendations to enhance the evaluation strategy, and improve festival quality and researcher engagement in subsequent editions. Combining a mixed-method approach to collect both qualitative and quantitative data helped gather a good and comprehensive overview of the festival. It set a baseline for future editions to improve upon. All the evaluation efforts carried out in this work were very dependent on volunteers, therefore an effective and appropriate volunteer recruitment, training and retainment strategy was essential. This work has developed a baseline assessment of the festival establishing a professional evaluation strategy with limited funds and experience. It is a step-by-step guide for large science festival organisers who want to set up effective evaluation of their efforts.