2014 Scholar: Alayna Zielinski

Who Needs Goals; An Analog Experiment Comparing Goal-Free Evaluation & Goal-Based Evaluation Utility

Systematic research on evaluation can greatly improve a program. But in making decisions about which evaluation model to choose, there needs to be a larger pool of research literature across all evaluation types. One nearly unexamined types of evaluation is goal-free evaluation (GFE). GFE is designed to keep evaluators purposefully ignorant of the program’s stated goals and objectives. The idea behind GFE is that the evaluator may uncover unintended side effects which would have gone unnoticed looking solely for specific goals and objectives. In this analog experiment GFE is compared with goal-based evaluation (GBE). GFE and a GBE were simultaneously and independently used to evaluate the same training program. Thirty of the evaluations’ users completed an attitude survey and participated in a focus group regarding the utility of each evaluation report.

Faculty Mentor: Brandon Youker, Social Work


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