William R. MacDonald


The Threat Of Evaluation In Research And Development


Program evaluation, as practised by the evaluation community, is seldom performed on research and development (R&D) programs. Scientists and research managers are threatened by formal program evaluation, and therefore do not initiate or support evaluations. This threat is due to three major factors inherent in the scientific comunity or in organizations in general: the mythology of science, ignorance, and the fear of discovery. The evidence given here suggests that each factor consists of several issues, some bring the myth that research programs cannot be evaluated, that managers and scientists do not known about evaluation methods, and that they are afraid of program changes and outside evaluators. The current situation is not expected to change without a fundamental shift within the R&D community itself.