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Goal-Free Evaluation

Goal-free evaluation (GFE) is an evaluation approach in which the evaluator conducts the evaluation without reference to predetermined goals and objectives. The rationale behind GFE is that the evaluator should examine all relevant outcomes; additionally, stated goals and objectives only represent a limited number of potential outcomes. Furthermore, if a program is achieving its goals, then the goals and objectives should be apparent, otherwise the goals are irrelevant or trivial. The goal-free evaluator is nearly always external to the program and its stakeholders to ensure ignorance of the stated goals; thus, the goal-free evaluator either intentionally avoids knowing the program’s goals or simply disregards them. Even so, frequently the evaluator has a general idea of the program goals such as with a substance abuse ...

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