Evaluation as Social Technology
Chapter 5 from: Program evaluation In social research Full chapter
• Why Is Social Research Not Relevant
• A Framework for Solutions
• Differences between Science and Technology
• Advantages of Evaluation as Social Technology
• Interrelationships between Science and Technology
So far I have argued that the value of outcome evaluation can be increased if type, validity, and usefulness are considered separately as distinct aspects of any given evaluation plan. Each of these three elements contains implications for the other two, but those implications will not be clear unless each component part is analyzed separately. There is another aspect of the problem which must also be considered, namely, the basic philosophical model of knowledge seeking upon which outcome evaluation is based. This is a consideration which cuts across elements of type, validity and usefulness, and deals with basic approaches to social research. How are questions formulated? How are variables chosen? What decision rules are used to weigh evidence, draw conclusions, and make recommendations? The answers to these questions reflect a philosophical model of research, and the model chosen can have far-reaching effects on the ultimate value of any research project. There are three main aspects to the argument about to be developed. First, there are crucial differences between scientific and technological models of knowledge development. Second, these differences have profound implications for the practical value of research. Third, evaluation is far more of a technological than a scientific pursuit.