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One difference between evaluators and researchers is that evaluators are hired by clients. Many clients are new to evaluation or may have inappropriate views of the evaluator's role and the nature of evaluation work. For this reason and many others, the evaluator-client relationship is fraught with potential ethical conflicts.

The Program Evaluation Standards and the Guiding Principles for Evaluators both speak to agreements between clients and evaluators. The standards give particular attention to formal agreements. In practice, however, evaluation contracts often focus on the evaluation plan and budget. Written agreements specifying the roles and responsibilities of the evaluator, the client, and other stakeholders can be useful in clarifying expectations and avoiding some, though certainly not all, future ethical dilemmas.

Ethical agreements may address the responsibilities of the ...

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