Following up the below, I recently had the privilege of taking an eval theory class with Melvin Mark at the Evaluators’ Institute. We discussed this issue, and came to the shared conclusion that Outcome Harvesting should NOT be called ‘goal-free.’
The logic is as follows: while OH is often called ‘goal-free,’ that is misleading because the underlying reasons for going ‘goal free’ are very different than the reasons underlying the original use of that term. Scriven coined the term ‘goal free’ to address bias reduction. Wilson-Grau developed OH to address contextual complexity. The theoretical underpinnings do not align, so it’s best to maintain clarity by using different terms.
As a result, I continue to call OH ’emergent.’ This is largely my own invented term. I still see a need for consensus within the field, so I’m eager to hear what others think.
Michelle Garred, PhD
Ripple Peace Research & Consulting LLC