Phenomenography: A methodological approach for assessment in student affairs

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Journal of Student Affairs Inquiry, Vol: 1, Issue: 2, Page: 1-22

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Rands, Melissa; Gansemer-Topf, Ann M
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article description
With increased pressure to justify their work, student affairs professionals no longer question the need to engage in assessment (Schuh, 2013). Assessment activities within student affairs have increased dramatically in the past decades, but many of these activities focus on measuring participation and satisfaction. Although important, these activities neglect to answer a more important question: How do student affairs professionals contribute to student learning? (Schuh, 2013; Schuh & Gansemer-Topf, 2010). Despite the increased need to do assessment, many student affairs professionals continue to struggle with ways to measure student learning (Blimling, 2013; Bresciani, 2013; Bresciani, Gardner, & Hickmott, 2009). In this paper, we introduce the reader to one approach, phenomenography, which can be used to document learning in student affairs.