Why genuine evaluation must be value-based

Every now and then the question is raised about whether evaluation really needs to incorporate “values”. Can’t we just measure what needs to be measured, talk to the right people, pass on whatever they (the people and the data) say? Why is there a need to dig into the messiness of “value”? Do we really need to say anything about how “substantial” or “valuable” an outcome is in the scheme of things, whether an identified weakness is minor or serious, whether implementation has been botched or aced, whether the entire program is heinously expensive or an incredible bargain given what it achieves? Do we really need to do anything seriously evaluative in our evaluation work? Yes, we do. And here’s why …

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