Goal-free evaluation (GFE) is an evaluation model where the evaluator is deliberately kept from the stated (or implied) goals and objectives of the program; this is accomplished by appointing a screener to keep goal-related information from the goal-free evaluator. Screening the evaluator from program goals is designed to control bias inherent in goal-based evaluation (GBE), a bias that contaminates the evaluator’s ability to see the program’s true outcomes and true merit. Although GFE has been around for more than half a century, GBE continues to dominate evaluation practice and the literature on GFE remains sparse and highly theoretical. This article introduces social workers to GFE, provides a brief history of the model, discusses some of the theoretical arguments for and against it, and then attempts to articulate actual principles and operations for conducting a GFE.
- goal-free evaluation,
- social work,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/brandon_youker/16/