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Summative Evaluation Tool #1: Case Characteristics

What Questions May Be Addressed by This Measure?

These questions allow you to collect information specific to the conflicts and disputes that your office is handling.  Details include the types of disputes that come to your office and how they are managed, including routing (e.g., whether referred out to another office), time involved, and resolution. 

How Do I Use This Measure?

Case characteristics should be recorded as early and often as possible.  Incorporating questions into the various systems you have in place or are creating is an excellent way to ensure this type of data is collected.  For example, during Intake, include questions about how the disputant heard about your office, the type of conflict that is occurring, and what other avenues they have tried before contacting you.  This tool contains examples of characteristics you might want to track.  You will want to think through issues of confidentiality.

What Information Will the Results Give Me?

Results provide important information for both report writing as well as for identifying areas for improvement.  You can use the information to find out what marketing venues best get the word out about your services, the type of conflicts occurring on campus, as well as insight into whether cases are being managed efficiently.

Case Characteristics—Sample Questions

Type of Dispute – A variety of different kinds of conflict can occur on a campus, thus this category is quite broad.  A checklist format is helpful for data collection during Intake and possibly during a mediation session.  The list provided below is a template; modify as needed. 

_____ housing                                                _____ noise

_____ harassment/assault                                _____ vandalism

_____ borrowed/stolen property                     _____ course-related (grades, evaluation)

_____ interpersonal (personal differences not captured by other types)

_____ Other: ____________________________________

Referrals – Basically you want to identify how people are finding out about your services as well as to whom you refer cases, for either additional or different services.  Again, a checklist format will likely be the most useful approach.  Also, documenting this information during Intake is probably most practical.  The list provided below is a template; modify as needed: 

_____ residence hall staff                                _____ campus police/security

_____ judicial affairs                                       _____ campus clergy

_____ campus legal services                           _____ faculty member

_____ media (newspaper, phonebook, public service announcement)

_____ roommate/friend/acquaintance (aka word-of-mouth)

_____ Other: ______________________________

Other Avenues Attempted – What else has a disputant tried?  This information can help gauge how well the word about mediation is reaching your campus audience and how mediation compares with other possible conflict-resolution options (e.g., talking about it with a friend, arbitration, legal action).  This is an open-ended question to be asked during Intake. 

Pending Action – Sometimes cases come to mediation with strings attached.  For example, there may be disciplinary actions or a small claims court filing that may be or already have been initiated.  This is an open-ended question to be asked during Intake.

Time Involved – There are several issues of interest pertaining to mediation sessions as well as to the impact of the conflict on the disputants’ and your time. 

      Mediation Sessions:  Document the start and end time for each mediation session to determine the number of minutes/hours spent in mediation.  Also, document the number of sessions devoted to each conflict.  For example, a certain conflict might involve two mediation sessions to reach resolution, each lasting an hour. 

      Days Devoted to Conflict Resolution:  Document the date you first received a case and the date the case was closed to determine the number of days your office was involved in the conflict.  If possible, try and find out the date the conflict started between the disputants to measure the number of days between inception of conflict and case closing.