Goal-free evaluation (GFE) is an evaluation approach in which the evaluator conducts the evaluation without reference to predetermined goals and objectives. The rationale behind GFE is [Page 736]that the evaluator should examine all relevant outcomes; additionally, stated goals and objectives only represent a limited number of potential outcomes. Furthermore, if a program is achieving its goals, then the goals and objectives should be apparent, otherwise the goals are irrelevant or trivial. The goal-free evaluator is nearly always external to the program and its stakeholders to ensure ignorance of the stated goals; thus, the goal-free evaluator either intentionally avoids knowing the program’s goals or simply disregards them. Even so, frequently the evaluator has a general idea of the program goals such as with a substance abuse ...
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