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The term emergent design is particularly associated with qualitative, inductive approaches to evaluation and so occurs frequently when participant observation or case study methods are used. It means that during fieldwork, the original evaluation plan may need to be adjusted or altered considerably. For example, one may have to change the number of program sites to be examined, introduce extra data collection methods, reduce the number of interviews, or increase the number of evaluators. Such actions may be required to be responsive to unanticipated positive or negative circumstances. This contrasts with deductive, hypothesis driven evaluations in which the design is worked out in advance and does not change for the duration of the evaluation.

Rosalind Hurworth
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