ERIC Number: ED183574
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Sep
Reference Count: 0
The Distinction Between Merit and Worth in Evaluation.
Lincoln, Yvonna S.; Guba, Egon G.
Valuing in evaluation encompasses two distinct senses of the word, denoted by the terms merit and worth. Merit may be defined as an entity's inherent, intrinsic, context-free value, while an entity's worth is defined as its contextually determined, place-bound value. Determining an entity's merit may take place whenever a number of experts are assembled. Worth can only be determined by viewing the entity in operation or on site. Thus, while merit may be determined in any number of ways, worth can be determined only by intensive field studies on site. And field studies often call for naturalistic, not scientific, approaches. Although it would seem that merit and worth are identical to formative and summative dimensions, they are orthogonal. It is therefore possible to create a 2 X 2 table and generate four distinct types of evaluation: formative merit evaluation, formative worth evaluation, summative merit evaluation, and summative worth evaluation. Each of the four types of evaluation serves distinctly different purposes and is addressed to different audiences and stakeholders. (Author/BW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Merit; Worth
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Evaluation Network (5th, Cincinnati, OH, September 24-26, 1979)