Meaningful Measurement of Theory-Based Service-Learning Outcomes: Making the Case with Quantitative Research
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Research is most beneficial when the design of research is guided by a theory and when the information that is gained through data collection is relevant to supporting, developing, refining, and revising a theory. The practice of service-learning will be improved when we understand the conditions that increase the likelihood of service-learning classes reaching intended educational outcomes. This article provides recommendations for generating meaningful information about service-learning that include evaluating hypotheses derived from theory, using multiple-item measures of theoretical constructs, using designs that allow causal inferences to be made, and making appropriate theoretical and practical generalizations from research.