We are happy to announce that we added a new resource page to the FLPEP website on "document analysis and observation techniques in language program evaluation." The page contains a list of how-to books and articles, example studies, and online advice.
Document analysis is often conducted to understand contextual information, such as program or instructional context, official/public policies and plans, program updates, curriculum and syllabus theory/design, and so on. Common types of documents often gathered in language program evaluation include course syllabi, instructor/curriculum handbooks, mission, goals, and outcomes statements, and students' enrollment and achievement records.
While document analysis can reveal official or stated views of a program, observation techniques can reveal what actually happens in the program. Observation is useful when you are interested in understanding program context, implementation, processes, experiences, and interactions. In language program evaluation, observation is frequently applied to what learners and teachers do in the classroom, but other foci of observation might include language assessment practices, teacher development or induction procedures, learner counseling, and so on. Document analysis and observation can be complementary when identifying gaps between what actually happens in the program and what is formally stated.