Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning


International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning


Strategic and Governance Services




Cook, E. J. (2021). Evaluation of work-integrated learning: A realist synthesis and toolkit to enhance university evaluative practices. International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning, 22(2), 213-239.


Situated in the context of work-integrated learning (WIL), this paper aims to build the evaluative capacity of universities in response to an increasing need for evaluation in higher education. It contributes a realist synthesis of international peer-reviewed literature on university evaluation of WIL, which revealed no use of evaluation theory or approaches by the authors. In response, to support the enhancement of university evaluative practices, this paper offers a toolkit of evaluation theory and approaches, with examples relating to WIL, featuring an evaluation planning tool (RUFDATAE). RUFDATAE is demonstrated using a study from the realist synthesis, to highlight its relevance, usefulness and simplicity, or ease of use, for university stakeholders conducting any evaluation. This paper also contributes to recent scholarly debates about evaluation – how it is perceived and differs from research – suggesting evaluation could be considered as an extension of research.