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Evaluation theory has been evolving and growing, although there is no single theory of evaluation, nor will there likely ever be one. Evaluation theory follows evaluation practice. Social and political demands for valuing forced the traditional social sciences into service, but over the years, evaluation has come into its own. Although the methods of evaluation are still borrowed from the social sciences (including an ever-broadening repertoire of evidence seeking and of creating methods), there is a growing awareness, beginning in the 1960s, that evaluation is more than the application of methods. It is also more than the simple discovery of what is good and right.

An evaluation theory serves to provide a plausible body of principles that explain and provide direction to the practice of evaluation. ...

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