Assessment VS research:
Assessment and research are similar in many ways: both involve asking the right questions, collecting data, analyzing results, and using the results to provide evidence and/or make decisions. Both utilize qualitative and quantitative data.
However, research takes things a step further--it utilizes control groups, seeks to control or compensate for all variables, and often is intended to investigate or provide evidence toward an overarching theory or concept that can be applied broadly. It requires significantly more time, resources, and design expertise than assessment.
Assessment accommodates limited time and resources and produces a reasonably accurate picture of the specific audience that it is targeting. Good assessment takes a snapshot of its target audience at that moment in time to help professionals make better decisions for their students at that moment. It can guide the decisions of the department or school, but isn’t out to make a statement about all students in all schools.