Goal Attainment Scaling: Applications, Theory, and Measurement

Goal Attainment Scaling: Applications, Theory, and Measurement

Goal Attainment Scaling: Applications, Theory, and Measurement

Goal Attainment Scaling: Applications, Theory, and Measurement


There is an extensive literature on Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS), but the publications are widely scattered and often inaccessible, covering several foreign countries and many professional disciplines and fields of application. This book provides both a user manual and a complete reference work on GAS, including a comprehensive account of what the method is, what its strengths and limitations are, how it can be used, and what it can offer. The book is designed to be of interest to service providers, program directors and administrators, service and business organizations, program evaluators, researchers, and students in a variety of fields. No previous account of GAS has provided an up-to-date, comprehensive description and explanation of the technique. The chapters include a basic "how to do it" handbook, step-by-step implementation instructions, frequently occurring problems and what should be done about them, methods for monitoring the quality of the goal setting process, and a discussion of policy and administration issues. There are many illustrations from actual applications including examples of goals scaled for the individual, the specific program, the agency, or the total system. Procedures for training and estimates of training costs are also provided.


Byron Wm. Brown Jr. Stanford University School of Medicine

I was very pleased to have been asked to write a word about this book, and I do so with the greatest enthusiasm. I remember when the idea that became Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) was first discussed in Minneapolis in the 1960s. Like many good and important ideas, it was (and is) a simple one, conceived for a simple goal. the idea of wedding scientific measurement to the setting of tailor-made goals for the individual patient had great appeal. To me, this scaling of individual achievement seemed to have great potential for clinical science. Standard scales like the mmpi did not seem to offer the right endpoints for randomized clinical trials in psychiatry at Hennepin County General Hospital. There was a need for endpoints that reflected the actual and varied problems of the patients, yet would offer the possibility to compare the results in treatment arms, generalizing across patients in the studies and beyond. So was gas born.

I was happy to be a part of some of the conversations and excited about the work. It seemed just the right answer. But like many good and important ideas, it soon proved to have far greater potential. By its innovative nature, gas has led to useful methodological considerations, but, more importantly, gas has proved to be an extremely helpful tool in clinical planning and evaluation, and it has been used in a very wide range of imaginative ways in clinical research. gas has realized many of our expectations (and more), but I feel that we have only seen the beginnings of its utilization. There are factors that have weighed against more rapid diffusion. the technique was born on the fringes of academia, in an environment of psychotherapy, and motivated by the needs for program evaluation. For these reasons, it has had a difficult time finding its way into the mainstream of clinical science methodology.

Nonetheless, diffusion of the technique has been gratifying and, I think, inevitable. a little thought convinces me that there are countless situations in which there . . .

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