Designing investigative evaluations: Problem solution versus client responsiveness

Nick L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The predominant purpose of most investigative social program evaluations has been the amelioration of social problems; however, increasing client demands, shifting evaluator roles and methodological innovations have all influenced evaluators to become increasingly responsive to client interests. Concerns have been raised that evaluations cannot simultaneously emphasize both problem solutions and client responsiveness, and that to emphasize client interests is to necessarily undermine the quality of information needed to solve social problems. Three case studies are reported here to illustrate alternative ways by which evaluation practitioners have successfully balanced client responsiveness with problem solution: evaluations of a medical school curriculum in Hawaii, an industrial technology transfer program in Norway, and a fisheries employment-support program in Newfoundland.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-129
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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