Value-free inquiry is the belief that evaluative conclusions cannot or should not be made on the basis of scientific evidence. This view is often associated with the work of sociologist Max Weber, who asserted that a scientist should be a disinterested observer of the social world, focused on describing and understanding but not on judging or prescribing. Evaluation as a discipline and a profession does, however, focus on judging and prescribing and therefore challenges this notion of scientific inquiry. Michael Scriven has used the term valuephobia, or an irrational fear of evaluation, which is helpful for understanding the persistent advocacy of value-free inquiry in general and in evaluation in particular. Individual and group fears often maintain the myth of value-free inquiry.