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An Assessment of Goal-Free Evaluation: Case Studies of Four Goal-Free Evaluations
American Evaluation Association (2013)
  • Brandon W. Youker, Ph.D, Grand Valley State University
  • Allyssa Ingraham, B.S., Grand Valley State University

This article provides a critical review of four goal-free program evaluations. Goal-free evaluation (GFE) is a lesser used evaluation model whereby the independent evaluator is intentionally screened from the program’s stated goals and objectives in hopes of reducing perceptual bias. The findings from these case studies are focused in three areas: (1) elements of the programs evaluated and the evaluation contexts (e.g., types of programs, pre-evaluation conditions, size of evaluation budgets), (2) the design of the GFEs (e.g., screening methods, data collection methods), and (3) the expertise of the goal-free evaluators (e.g., GFE-specific training, graduate degrees attained). With these evaluations, GFE served as a qualitative data collection method or tool, and all of the GFEs were relatively small in size, scope, and budget. Conclusions call for further operationalization of GFE if its use is to increase as well as for systematic and empirical study comparing GFE with goal-based evaluation.

  • goal-free evaluation,
  • goal,
  • case study,
  • methodology
Publication Date
Fall October, 2013
Citation Information
Brandon W. Youker and Allyssa Ingraham. "An Assessment of Goal-Free Evaluation: Case Studies of Four Goal-Free Evaluations" American Evaluation Association (2013)
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