Assessment versus Research. What is the Difference? Why Does It Matter?

with J. Patrick Biddix, Joseph D. Levy, Rishi Sriram

About This Course

Recently, there has been significant interest and discussion about the roles of assessment and research as functions of student affairs practice. Some considerations include the roles of research in practice and differences between research and assessment activities. In the past decade, student affairs has seen considerable growth in assessment training in graduate programs and institutes, professional organizations, and in conference programming. With this increasing interest, has come a focus on understanding the methods and approaches for conducing high-quality studies. This has been blurred the lines between the concepts, approaches, and activities of assessment and research in student affairs practice.

The purpose of this session is to consider similarities and differences between these concepts and how they relate to practice expectations. The focus, intended for a beginner/foundational audience, will be on establishing and clarifying the language used for assessment and research, expectations of practitioners at multiple levels, and trends in the field. Content will include consideration of definitions of assessment and research, approaches to assessment and research based on definitions and philosophy, project examples of assessment and research, and consideration of what this means for professionals moving forward.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this session, attendees will: 

  • gain foundational knowledge about the concepts of assessment and research;
  • learn approaches to assessment and research based on definitions and philosophy;
  • apply assessment and research processes to student affairs practice; and
  • articulate the need for assessment and research skill development as professional practice.   

Accessing the Presentation

Once you complete your registration, you will be able to access the course by clicking on the "Login" button at the top of this page (or any page on

  • You will be asked to login with your NASPA user name and password. Once you have done so, you will hit continue and be redirected to your dashboard in the Online Learning Community.

  • You will find the session listed under "Enrolled."

  • This session is recorded. By clicking into, "Contents," you will find the session recording, resources, and PowerPoint slides. You may view the materials as many times as you'd like, at whatever pace you would like.

  • If you have any difficulty accessing the materials, please contact Jace Kirschner (

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