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Evaluation as used in a technical sense in the United States means assessment of a government program's past or ongoing performance. The key issue in program evaluation is to determine the extent to which the program, rather than other factors, has caused any changes that have been observed. (IIASA)
The process of establishing whether an existing structure performs approximately as expected. The process of obtaining reliable data usually for administration and governmental agencies about the effects, values and efficiency of social programs, particularly in education and economic development. Formative evaluation is often part of the program and designed to improve it. Algedonic (see ALGEDonic regulation) evaluation is designed to establish its worth. (Krippendorff)
Evaluation is a general term referring to the collection and processing of information and data in order to compare events which have taken place (e.g. effects caused by a new technology) to a set of normative criteria or goals. This can be done in a number of different ways and with regard to a number of different classes of objects (e.g. TECHNOLOGIES, projects, policies etc.). Depending on this, a number of different evaluation methodologies exist while there is no general "evaluation methodology". (Hornung

Evaluation or evaluation research refers to an investigation of something which leads to a normative assessment or statement (1). Evaluation can be defined as the use of scientific methods and procedures in order to obtain and process information for comparing real or hypothetical events to normative criteria and values, which, to the extent possible, should be scientifically founded (2). This is done in order to obtain guidelines for the future planning and realization of such events.

This means that the normative statement has to be intersubjective, reproducible, controllable, and logically consistent (3). The criteria and values used can be results of empirical research or they can be given, e.g. by the client. However, they have to be analysed and questioned methodologically and theoretically in order to maintain scientific standards. Also with these limitations the concept of evaluation is still very general and unprecise. This results from a large variety of objects of evaluation, purposes of evaluation, points in time when evaluations are made, and of receivers to whom the results are directed. Therefore evaluation can be only a general concept which has to be more specified.

For an evaluation at least two steps are required: - the analysis and description of the event or system to be evaluated, - the normative assessment of the event or system using appropriate criteria. Apart from this, all methods of empirical research can be used depending on the particular case. (Hornung)

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