Goal-Free Evaluation

Goal-Free Evaluation

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Developed by Michael Scriven, this approach is premised on the assumption that an evaluation should establish the value of a programme by examining what it is doing rather than what it is trying to do.

The approach is in large part, designed to eliminate bias in evaluation by ensuring that the organization of the evaluation in not based on what the programme goals are, but rather on what the programme is actually

accomplishing. Therefore, if the programme is meeting its goals and objectives, this fact should be apparent through an examination of the programme's activities and outcomes. Goal-free evaluation is more oriented toward the ways in which a programme meets the needs of its target beneficiaries and less on what programme managers and developers claim to be their intentions. In consequence, goal free evaluation relies heavily on needs assessment to judge the quality and fit of the programme to client needs.[1]


  1. Mathison, Sandra. Encyclopaedia of Evaluation, pp 171, Ed. University of British Columbia. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2005.