Toward a more public discussion of the ethics of federal social program evaluation

Jan Blustein, Burt S. Barnow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Federal social program evaluation has blossomed over the past quarter century. Despite this growth, there has been little accompanying public debate on research ethics. This essay explores the origins and the implications of this relative silence on ethical matters. It reviews the federal regulations that generally govern research ethics, and recounts the history whereby the evaluation of federal programs was specifically exempted from the purview of those regulations. Through a discussion of a recent evaluation that raised ethical concerns, the essay poses - but does not answer - three questions: (1) Are there good reasons to hold federal social program evaluations to different standards than those that apply to other research?; (2) If so, what ethical standards should be used to assess such evaluations?; and (3) Should a formal mechanism be developed to ensure that federal social program evaluations are conducted ethically?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-848
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Policy Analysis and Management
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2005

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moral philosophy
evaluation
research ethics
regulation
Social programs
Evaluation
Program evaluation
Research ethics
history
Ethical standards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)

Cite this

Toward a more public discussion of the ethics of federal social program evaluation. / Blustein, Jan; Barnow, Burt S.

In: Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 24, No. 4, 09.2005, p. 824-848.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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