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Eleanor Chelimsky writes, “Telling the truth to people who may not want to hear it is, after all, the chief purpose of evaluation.” Honesty is critical to the practice of evaluation. Audiences look to evaluators to provide honest assessments of the quality of products, programs, or policies. Honesty plays a prominent role in evaluators' ethical codes. But what do we mean by honesty? Dictionaries define honesty as being truthful, adhering to the facts. Evaluators recognize that there are many versions of truth, but through the use of systematic inquiry; thorough exploration of program context and stakeholders' views; and accurate, comprehensive, and balanced reporting, evaluations can produce more honest appraisals of programs than can other means. Honesty includes practicing within one's limits of competence, identifying potential ...

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