A German word that means “understanding,”verstehen has been elaborated to signify interpretive understanding of the meaning of human action. The term has been explored by many philosophers and theorists of social inquiry and defined as both the unique purpose for human sciences and the method for such inquiry. The term reminds evaluators that they are seeking to understand the values and perspectives of the participants in their studies through participation with them as fellow human beings in addition to whatever other methods they use. Without such subjective reflection, evaluators cannot hope to respond to stakeholders' concerns appropriately.

David D.Williams
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