This paper explores library evaluation in Australia and proposes a return to research fundamentals in which evaluators are asked to consider the centrality of philosophical issues and the role of different research methods. A critique of current evaluation examples demonstrates a system-centred, quantitative, input/output focus which fails to engage with users' experiences or to address service objectives, and provides insufficient information upon which to make decisions about service improvements. This reliance on traditional evaluation is juxtaposed with the emphasis library and information studies places on alternative methodologies. The paper asks why a perspective that has become mainstream in academic research remains peripheral to practice-based evaluation. Manuscript received March 2004.
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