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Ethical Issues of Program Evaluation Research

Surveyed respondents reported a wide variety of ethical conflicts, with evaluators frequently pressured to compromise their roles as scientists as well as the level of observed effectiveness of the evaluation program and/or product. Thus, the question that can be asked here is: What are the specific kinds of ethical dilemmas program evaluation researchers are confronted with?

One ethical challenge in program evaluation research concerns social responsibility and the extent to which any program findings are in accord with the commissioning agency fulfilling the goal of upholding social responsibility concerns. In this regard, Jones and Baldwin (1994) have discussed program evaluation research conducted by businesses and industry. According to the authors, many corporations conduct evaluation research to determine whether new policies, practices, programs, or products are effective in terms of the company's specific business objectives. However, Jones and Baldwin (1994) report, that business objectives are not always in line with the organization being socially responsible.

For example, a given evaluation might show that a particular corporate program is effective and cost-effective but that its implementation is not protective of the environment. Therefore to go ahead and implement the program would not be socially responsible.

The key factor in dealing with this ethical issue, Jones and Baldwin (1994) state, is to provide organizations that conduct progra


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