Experimenting Society

Experimenting society is a phrase associated most often with Donald Campbell. It reflects a vision of

a society that would use social science methods and evaluation techniques to vigorously try out possible solutions to recurrent problems and would make hard-headed, multidimensional evaluations of outcomes, and when the evaluation of one reform showed it to have been ineffective or harmful, would move on and try other alternatives.

An experimenting society is a liberal state committed to science as well as reform and to seeing these two as intertwined. Several volumes commemorating Campbell's contributions to evaluation include this phrase in their titles.


Further Reading

Campbell, D. T.Methods for the experimenting society. Evaluation Practice12(3)223–260(1991)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0886-1633%2891%2990039-Z
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