Hi, we’re Abhik Roy and Kristin A. Hobson, students and Doctoral Associates (we know what you’re thinking…wow…they must be rich) in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Evaluation (IDPE) at Western Michigan University (WMU), and Dr. Chris L. S. Coryn, Professor of Evaluation, Measurement, and Research and Director of the IDPE (our boss…please tell him to pay us more). Recently, Abhik formulized a Scriven number and we wrote a paper on it entitled “What’s in a Scriven Number?”
Lesson Learned: What’s so important about a Scriven number? Since the article appeared, evaluators are asking each other “what’s your Scriven number?” Perhaps you’re new to the field of evaluation and have no idea what this means or the significance. Dr. Michael Scriven is widely considered the father of modern evaluation. His influence theoretically and in application within the field of evaluation has ben quite significant as his numerous manuscripts total over 400. In addition, Dr. Scriven is a past president of the American Educational Research Association and the American Evaluation Association. He is also an editor and co-founder of the Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation.
Cool Trick: Determining your Scriven number. You may be asking, what’s a Scriven number? Well that’s what we’re here to explain. To put it simply, a Scriven number is a measure of collaborative distance, using both direct and indirect authorship, a person is from Dr. Scriven. Ok maybe that wasn’t so simple. Let’s try explaining this in a different way. A Scriven number is how far you, as an author of a published paper, are away from Dr. Scriven. In other words, Dr. Scriven has a Scriven number of zero, a person who has written a paper with Dr. Scriven has a Scriven number of one, a person who has written a paper with another person who wrote a paper with Dr. Scriven has a Scriven number of two, and so on. For example, using the paper Cook, Scriven, Coryn, and Evergreen (2010), Cook, Coryn, and Evergreen have a Scriven number of one. Now anyone who has published with Cook, Coryn, or Evergreen receives a Scriven number of two, unless the person has published with Dr. Scriven directly, then the person has a Scriven number of one. If a person has multiple Scriven numbers, his or her Scriven number is the lower number.
- For more information on the Scriven number, see Roy, Hobson, and Coryn’s 2012 article What’s in a Scriven number?
- Personal Webpage of Dr. Scriven
- Dr. Scriven’s Wikipedia Page
- Dr. Scriven’s Bio
- Claremont Evaluation Debates featuring Dr. Scriven
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