"Paradigms lost": Some thoughts on choosing methods in evaluation research

Charles S. Reichardt*, Thomas D. Cook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Patton agrees with us concerning the need for a catholic approach to method choices in evaluation. However, Patton criticizes us for setting up a straw man when we argued that quantitative and qualitative methods are not inevitably linked to different "paradigms" and that allegiance to a particular paradigm does not force the evaluator into a choice between mutually exclusive qualitative and quantitative methods. The first part of this article shows how some of the past literature creates the impression both of an inevitable method-paradigm linkage and of a forcedchoice between qualitative and quantitative paradigms. It is argued that such impressions could have pernicious consequences for evaluation practice by artificially restricting method choices. In the final section, we consider some of the difficulties of making method choices and suggest that the purposefully developed strengths of different methods should not be completely ignored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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