The tricky type of evidence is collecting evidence of practice. This is the outcomes evidence in which you will be collecting evidence of your own work. Rather than looking at the research of others, collecting outcomes evidence is about taking part in your own original data collection. It's about the creation of new knowledge, and, honestly, it's very exciting. You can always be collecting evidence informally, but here's something to keep in mind.
The evidence that you collect should serve a purpose. I don't mean that you should expect to know the outcome. If that were the case, then why would we even bother collecting evidence at all? You might not know how the evidence will turn out, or if you'll even like what you'll see, but if you're collecting it with a purpose, you'll be to make decisions based on the evidence and move in the right direction regardless.
In addition to collecting evidence with a purpose, to really put the evidence work for you, make sure that purpose is aligned with the goals and priorities of your school and district. This is a point that I couldn't possibly emphasize enough. If evidence is the best form of advocacy, it does its strongest work when moving toward the ultimate goals that your school and district are aiming to achieve.
When collecting evidence of practice, you'll typically be going one of three routes. Data collection that is quantitative, qualitative, or a mix of those two. If you've dabbled in action-based research, these terms are likely familiar to you, but if not, don't worry. You're not about to get a crash course in research methods. That's a topic for another set of lessons entirely.
Rather than get stuck in the weeds about these theoretical concepts of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods data collection, we're going to look at these different types of collection from their roots. You can think of them in another way, as objective, subjective, or a little of both.
Now, this is slightly simplistic, but it's also less intimidating and it's going to serve our purpose as well. In the next couple of lessons, we'll explore these different types of data collection and you'll get a better understanding of how each type of collection may work best for you.