Refining the outcomes

While we encourage developing eight to 12 program outcomes, it might be necessary to define each outcome at a deeper level. Consider the following example:

Example of a program-level outcome related to research

"Integrate evidence-based practice to design and implement a research project."

Alone, the preceding outcome is not specific enough to measure whether the student has fulfilled the requirement.

  • What is the scope or scale of the research project?
  • Will the project be completed alone or collaboratively?
  • How do we define evidence-based practice?
  • How does this requirement change depending on whether this outcome is at the undergraduate, masters, or Ph.D. level?
  • Is it necessary to include the and? How do we capture that the student needs to implement research that he or she designed as opposed to implementing someone else's research project?

By providing additional information, the outcome is clearer and more easily measured. Using the Research Skills Development Framework, the outcome was modified as follows.

Integrate evidence-based practice to execute a student-initiated research project.

  • Articulate suitable research questions within structured guidelines to address the student-generated thesis statement
  • Critically evaluate information and its sources to review the literature related to the research questions
  • Execute an appropriate research methodology to answer the research questions
  • Present results, discussion and conclusions using the language of the discipline through appropriate media for the selected audience

Feedback from faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders can be used to develop this next layer of the outcomes.