Means-Ends Relations

Simplistically, means are processes, activities, ways of doing or being, and ends are the achievements, outcomes, states of being that result from means. Means and ends are sometimes also thought of as process and outcome, the more common manifestation in evaluation. In this context, there is a focus on the instrumental understanding of means-end relations. Particularly in realist approaches to evaluation, means-ends relations are key to determining when a program or process has an intended effect. In evaluation, there is concern over what takes precedence—the means or the ends or how to balance the two. Some evaluation approaches more naturally focus on means (for example, participatory, responsive, appreciative inquiry) and others focus on ends (for example, realist and experimental approaches), although both are relevant to ...

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