Executive Summary

Values Exchange is an innovative web-based community that fosters personal reflection and informed debate on case studies on any theme. A trial site has been created for Warwick here: http://warwick.vxcommunity.com

We wish to explore the use of Values Exchange as an interdisciplinary tool to support values-based thinking and reasoning. Values-based thinking and reasoning is an important approach in many disciplines and underpins much of decision making, in particular focussing on rendering the decision making process transparent to both the decision maker and other stakeholders. The Values Exchange achieves this in two ways: firstly its innovative ‘Think Screen’ creates an online ‘Socratic dialogue’ between the decision maker and the software; and secondly the system provides instant, in-depth results that can be extensively filtered and analysed by every participant.

We are asking for funds to formally evaluate Values Exchange in terms pedagogy and technical suitability to gain insight into how it supports values-based thinking and reasoning. Pedagogical evaluation (see further below for technical evaluation) will be in two stages. First we will use a semi-quantitative approach using online surveys to evaluate use acceptance (staff and students) and reaction to the use of Values Exchange. Surveys will also contain qualitative and narrative feedback from staff and student users. Then we will use the realistic evaluation methodology (Pawson & Tilley 1997) to explore in more depth how Values Exchange supports values-based thinking and reasoning. This stage will take the form of interviews and focus groups. We have purposefully not attempted to specify how many students and how many focus groups will be involved as we plan to use the early stages of this project to identify courses, modules and groups of learners that will get the most benefit from using Values Exchange in each department.