AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

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Hello! My name is Amelia Ruerup, I am Tlingit, originally from Hoonah, Alaska although I currently reside in Fairbanks, Alaska.  I have been working part-time in evaluation for over a year at Evaluation Research Associates and have spent approximately five years developing my understanding of Indigenous Evaluation through the mentorship and guidance of Sandy Kerr, Maori from New Zealand.  I consider myself a developing evaluator and continue to develop my understanding of what Indigenous Evaluation means in an Alaska Native context.

I have come to appreciate that Alaska Natives are historic and contemporary social innovators who have always evaluated to determine the best ways of not only living, but thriving in some of the most dynamic and at times, harshest conditions in the world.  We have honed skills and skillfully crafted strict protocols while cultivating rich, guiding values.  The quality of our programs, projects, businesses and organizations is shaped by our traditions, wisdom, knowledge and values.  It is with this lens that Indigenous Evaluation makes sense for an Alaska Native context as a way to establish the value, worth and merit of our work where Alaska Native values and knowledge both frame and guide the evaluation process.

Amidst the great diversity within Alaska Native cultures we share certain collective traditions and values.  As Alaska Native peoples, we share a historical richness in the use of oral narratives.  Integral information, necessary for thriving societies and passing on cultural intelligence, have long been passed on to the next generation through the use of storytelling. It is also one commonality that connects us to the heart of Indigenous Evaluation.  In the Indigenous Evaluation Framework book, the authors explain that, “Telling the program’s story is the primary function of Indigenous evaluation…Evaluation, as story telling, becomes a way of understanding the content of our program as well as the methodology to learn from our story.” To tell a story is an honor.  In modern Alaska Native gatherings, we still practice the tradition of certain people being allowed to speak or tell stories.  This begs the question: Who do you want to tell your story and do they understand the values that are the foundation and framework for your program?  

Hot Tip: Context before methods.  It is essential to understand the Alaska Native values and traditions that are the core of Alaska Native serving programs, institutions and organizations.  Indigenous Evaluation is an excellent approach to telling our stories.

Rad Resource: The Alaskool website hosts a wealth of information on Alaska Native cultures and values.  This link will take you to a map of “Indigenous Peoples and Languages of Alaska”

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Alaska Evaluation Network Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AKEN members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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This is part of a series remembering and honoring evaluation pioneers leading up to Memorial Day in the USA (May 30).

I am Rodney Hopson, Professor of Education Policy and Evaluation at George Mason University and former (2012) President of AEA. Asa G. Hillard III (Baffour Amankwatia II), is one of the evaluation pioneers documented in the Nobody Knows My Name (named after a book by James Baldwin) Project that uncovers the untold contributions of African American educational researchers and evaluators in the United States during the pre-Brown v. Board era. While Hilliard’s major work did not take place pre-Brown, he is a name associated with the Nobody Knows My Name Project and is a name that all evaluators should know.

Trained as an educational psychologist (University of Denver, 1963), Hilliard’s research and practice spanned educational policy, special education, anthropology, child development, and classical African civilizations, Hilliard was one of the first African Americans to provide a keynote at the American Evaluation Association conference (in 1988). Hilliard’s presentation was later published in Evaluation Practice (the precursor to the American Journal of Evaluation) in 1989 and provided ways for evaluators to think differently about data visualization, truth and evidence and the implications for cross-cultural evaluators.   In recent years, the American Evaluation Association has sponsored Think Tank sessions at its annual conference in his honor previously co-sponsored by Indigenous Peoples, MultiEthnic and Social Work Topical Interest Groups to introduce his practice to AEA members and conference goers.

Asa G. Hilliard

Asa G. Hilliard

When names like Ralph Tyler, Robert Ingle, and Marcia Guttentag are remembered, so should those like Reid E. Jackson, Asa Hilliard, and Rose Butler Browne. Their cumulative scholarship and evaluation agenda-setting both laid a foundation for policies, legislation, and counter-narratives that challenged the racial hegemony and institutional segregation that existed in the United States and contributed to the intellectual development of democratic, equitable, and culturally responsive evaluation more generally.

References and Resources:

American Psychological Association. (2016) Featured Psychologist: Asa Hilliard, III, PhD. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/psychologists/asa-hilliard.aspx

Hilliard, A. G. (1989). Kemetic (Egyptian) historical revision: Implications for cross-cultural        evaluation and research in education. Evaluation Practice, 10(2), 7–23.

Hood, S. (2001). Nobody knows my name: In praise of African American evaluators who were    responsive. New Directions for Evaluation, 92, 31–43

Hood, S. & Hopson, R.K. (2008). Evaluation roots reconsidered: Asa Hilliard, a Fallen Hero in   the “Nobody Knows My Name” Project, and African Educational Excellence. Review of      Educational Research, 78(3), 410-426.

Hood, S., Hopson, R., and Kirkhart, K. (2015). Culturally Responsive Evaluation: Theory,        practice, and future implications. In Newcomer, K. and Hatry, H (Eds.). Handbook on           Practical Program Evaluation (4th ed.) (pp. 281-317). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Memorial Week in Evaluation: Remembering and Honoring Evaluation’s Pioneers. The contributions this week are remembrances of evaluation pioneers who made enduring contributions to our field. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Greetings. My name is Tiffeny Jimenez and I identify first as a Community Psychologist (CP). I am also an Assistant Professor of the Community Psychology Doctoral program at National Louis University in Chicago. As a CP, I inherently very quickly identify inequalities, injustices, and potential for collaboration where others may be more likely to see only conflict, and from this perspective, evaluation is a particularly salient and necessary skill set. How else might we judge whether social justice is achieved? It is towards this aim that I take on all inquiry and action. This year, I have had the privilege to be one of this year’s MSI Fellows where I have worked with colleagues towards gaining an in-depth interdisciplinary perspective on the state of our understanding Cultural Competence across Social Work, Health Psychology, Sociology, and Community Psychology. I will speak to the contribution of CP to this focus area.

Lesson Learned: The overall CP framework facilitates cultural competency and humility in all acts of professionalism with explicit emphasis on how we think and why we act in certain ways within a socio-cultural ecological context. CP views cultural competency as cross-cultural awareness assuming we all are interdependent and come to the table with diverse cultural lenses that influence action. Cultural competency is a critical consciousness beyond the acquisition of skills; it’s a way of being in every day interactions that allows for a clearer understanding of one’s own personal place in the world, personal biases, and an understanding that multiple perspectives are present at any one time.

The emphasis of CP is on promoting social justice and identifying the root causes of social problems by changing conditions so diverse populations can thrive individually within a shared geography. Much of the literature on cultural competency centers around: providing in-depth localized case examples of how CPs engage as equal peers with others to address individual and social problems from a culturally grounded perspective; describe adaptations of community programming to meet the needs of underserved populations; discuss the importance of using methods that capture historical context and the voices of less dominant perspectives; emphasize the promotion of dynamic processes within community-level systems rather than individual-level outcomes; and advocate understanding the cultural landscape that undergirds the various policies and practices that perpetuate inequalities and maintain the status quo. Main concepts: power, privilege, structural inequality, decolonizing methodologies, organizational culture, critical consciousness, liberation, indigenous psychologies, divergent cultural practices, and ecological sustainability.

Rad Resources: For more information on being culturally competent, see “Community Psychology: Foundations for Practice” (2015). Particularly Chapter 4 by Kien Lee titled “Effecting Social Change in Diverse Contexts”. The Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice also addresses cultural competency in CP practice from a global perspective: http://www.gjcpp.org/en/article.php?issue=16&article=77

The American Evaluation Association is AEA Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowship Experience week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AEA’s MSI Fellows. For more information on the MSI fellowship, see this webpage: http://www.eval.org/p/cm/ld/fid=230 Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

We are Dr. Maria Jimenez, Independent Evaluation Consultant in Los Angeles, CA, and Andrea Guajardo, MPH, Director of Community Health at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System in San Antonio, TX, core members of the newly formed LARED TIG network.

The inaugural business meeting of the LA RED TIG was held at AEA 2015 in Chicago. At this event, LA RED members reviewed strategic plans, developed working groups, and recognized key members. Strategic plans involved revisiting core goals and objectives. Working groups reported on key areas including Mentoring & Professional Development Oppportunities and Membership & Member Engagement. Lastly, Dr. Arthur Hernandez, Dean of the College of Education at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, was recognized with an award for his support and leadership in the formation of the TIG and presence at AEA. What follows is a review of the LA RED’s membership, future directions, and tips for how to get involved.

LA RED’s membership includes more than 25 emerging Latina/o evaluators who have recognized the need for increasing Latina/o visibility in AEA and to create spaces for evaluation discourse that is culturally responsive to Latina/o-serving communities and programs. Led by a group of founding members, it has enlisted broad participation from Latina/o evaluators and evaluators working with Latina/o-serving organizations.

Future directions for the TIG include:

  1. Expansion of membership for a Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse Topical Interest Group (LA RED TIG) to continue to build a platform for Latina/o voices in evaluation practice for dialogue and knowledge sharing. (LA RED in Spanish stands for “The Network”.)
  2. Extension of professional leadership development for novice Latina/o evaluators through formal training and supportive mentoring from senior evaluators.
  3. Engagement of cross-cultural partners to meet the growing needs of the Latina/o community.
  4. Development of culturally responsive evaluation frameworks by including Critical Race Theory, LatCrit, and the voices of other indigenous Latina/o-focused writers.

LA RED welcomes evaluators who identify as Latina/o as well as any evaluator whose work and/or practice includes the study of Latino populations.

Hot Tip #1: Email LA RED. If you are interested in joining LA RED or would like more information regarding its mission, goals, and future directions, email LA RED at lared.tig@gmail.com.

Hot Tip #2: Join a LA RED working group. If you are interested in joining a working group, email us. Our work around the year translates into activities at AEA and beyond.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Topical Interest Group members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

My name is Art Hernandez and I am a Professor and Dean at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.

I participated in one of the very early yearlong experiences as an AEA MSI Fellow and have served as the Director for several cohorts most recently this past year.   I serve and have served as evaluator and teacher of evaluation and am very interested in the processes of cultural responsiveness in practice especially in regards to measurement and assessment.   I am a member of the Indigenous, Multicultural and LA RED TIGs.

Lesson Learned: Cultural responsiveness is important for many of the reasons well-articulated in the AEA Statement and in numerous articles and presentations. However, besides all the reasons which have been promulgated, I have discovered that sometimes evaluation efforts are perceived by participants as having some degree of risk attendant either to the process, outcomes or implications or some combination of all three. Often Latina/o evaluators who come from similar cultural backgrounds can actually exacerbate this perceived risk resulting in the psychological response which is known as “fight or flight” which is characterized by resistance or non-engagement. 

Hot Tip: Cultural knowledge, respect, and real relationship are important to minimize the sense of risk and maximize the nature and quality of cooperation with the evaluation effort.   Latina/o evaluators should never assume cultural responsiveness as merely a matter of cultural familiarity, cultural heritage or facility with the language and instead understand and practice cultural responsiveness as a predisposition and relational action.

Rad Resources:

Applying Culturally-Responsive Communication in Hispanic/Latino Communities – Education Toolkit. Susan G. Komen (2014).

The 10 Largest Hispanic Origin Groups: Characteristics, Rankings, Top Counties – Pew Research Center: Pew Hispanic Center (2010).

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Topical Interest Group members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

I’m Pat Clifford, a consultant working with the Tristate Veterans Community Alliance and Program Chair of the Military and Veteran Evaluation (MVE) TIG. A prominent issue for our collaborative and many other veteran support organizations is the successful transition from military to civilian life. When approaching this task, it’s important for evaluators to recognize some of the primary contextual drivers.

  • Military transition is a life transition: And, like other transitional periods, it comes with unique risk and protective factors.
  • Some stakeholders and factors are common: For example, there are similar national stakeholders like the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense (DoD) as well as a strong military culture. National changes like draw downs and restructuring impact everyone across the board.
  • However, transitions play out in local contexts: Each region has different demographics, organizational players, and linkages to bases and installations.
  • And the “Sea of Goodwill” can intensify problem: Many organizations and individuals are quick to start providing services thinking they are the only ones out there. This means that resources are often not targeted effectively or coordinated.

All of these factors contribute to a complex environment for evaluators. Often well-meaning programs and models (especially those that are implemented top-down) tend to run into roadblocks in practice. To counteract this, there are things that evaluators can do to engage with their local context and drive relevance. 

Hot Tips:

  • Prioritize relationships: Often programs are focused on evaluating programs as if they operated in a social vacuum. The reality is that program outcomes hinge on credibility with their target population, and that means relationships. Intentionally explore how programs build trust and display credibility. From my experience, word-of-mouth is key in the veteran space; and cultural missteps can lead to long-term consequences.
  • Help programs recognize and agree on roles: No organization can do everything well. Too often programs want to be the “one stop shops” to help solve all of a veteran or military families’ needs. Evaluators can work with stakeholders to think critically about their scope, identify their roles and set up processes to ensure they work in partnership, not in isolation.
  • Encourage leadership by empowering: Work with programs to explore how they create a space for indigenous leadership. While national models and top-down initiatives can help bring solutions “to scale”, often they work to disempower local leaders and veteran stakeholders. Evaluators can help become a voice for local knowledge and expertise that can help inform larger initiatives.

Rad Resources:

Tristate Veterans Community Alliance

VA Office of Policy and Planning

Ending Veteran Homelessness by Addressing Failed Transition Policies

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating MVE TIG Week with our colleagues in the Military and Veteran’s Issues Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our MVE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Hello! We are Ghada Jiha and Bessa Whitmore, Program Co-Chairs of the Feminist Issues in Evaluation Topical Interest Group (Feminist TIG).

The TIG was established to highlight and promote feminist approaches in the field of evaluation. Feminist approaches acknowledge multiple perspectives and realities by examining the intersections of gender, race, class and sexuality in the context of power. They offer evaluators distinct ways of thinking, ways that are participatory, inclusive, empowering, that give voice to otherwise “unheard” and “invisible” groups, and that seek to further social justice agendas.

Rad Resources: In a year celebrating the Year of Evaluation and Exemplary Evaluations in a Multicultural World, the Feminist TIG takes this opportunity to highlight select panels and presentations at AEA 2015.

  • The “L” in Feminist Approaches to MEL: A Cross-organizational Reflection on Learning from the International Development Arena. Evaluators from CARE, Oxfam and UN Women will share how each organization has pursued “learning” with a feminist lens in the context of MEL as well as discuss innovations and challenges. (Nov. 12, 1:00 – 1:45 pm)
  • Framing Evaluations for At-Risk Groups in South Asia. Presenters will share the results of a study on maternal and child health issues among 172 sex workers in Kolkata, India and the findings of a paper exploring the lived realities of 39 highly vulnerable and trafficked girls. Using child-friendly, innovative participatory methods in their work, evaluators developed a framework to address this invisible population. (Nov. 12, 1:00 -1:45 pm)
  • Enhancing investigations of women’s empowerment: The papers in this session will showcase rigorous evaluation methods used to measure impacts on gender equality and women’s empowerment in international development programs. (Nov. 12, 7:00 – 7:45 am)
  • Dealing with power issues in evaluation: a multicultural approach from Latin America. In recent years, public policies in Latin America have been developed to respond to indigenous exclusion and discrimination. These policies, however, have not addressed underlying power structures such as gender relations. Drawing on experiences from Bolivia, Chile and Guatemala, this panel will offer reflections, strategies and lessons learned on dealing with and managing power issues in evaluation. (Nov. 14, 10:45-11:30 am)
  • Skills-building workshop: Poetry as a Mode of Inquiry and Presentation. Led by Sharon Brisolara, a poet and prominent feminist evaluator, participants will explore poetry as a mode of inquiry in evaluation. The session will demonstrate multiple ways of integrating poetry into various stages of the evaluation process and provide guidance on poem selection and use. (Nov. 13, 3:30-4:15 pm)

Please join us at our TIG business meeting on Thursday, November 12, 6:20 – 7:10 pm to learn more and connect with us.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Feminist Issues in Evaluation (FIE) TIG Week with our colleagues in the FIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our FIE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Hello! I’m Nicole Clark, a licensed social worker and independent evaluator, specializing in working with nonprofits and city agencies to design, implement, and evaluate programs and services specifically for women and girls of color.

Women and girls of color face many intersectional issues connected to race and gender. When it comes to mainstream feminism, all too often the voices of Black, Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native/Indigenous women are not always heard compared to their white counterparts.

Hot Tip: Avoid the “white feminist savior” complex. Feminist blogger Anne Thériault, wrote “The White Feminist Savior Complex. In the post, Thériault reacts to Teju Cole’s essay, The White Savior Industrial Complex, in which she began to understand that, in order to raise the voices of communities of color, people of color have to be the decision makers in how the issues they care about are addressed. Thériault shares, “…[T]he best and most important work that we can do is to listen to marginalized people, give them a platform from which they can reach a wider audience, and use our platforms to help amplify their voices. This is the real work that we should be doing. Anything else — any other way of ‘freeing’ women of color — is at best condescending…”

Lesson Learned: Recognize the ways in which you hold privilege. As a person of color, I am intentional in choosing which evaluation projects to work on because I am invested in all communities of color, especially women and girls of color. But I also have to recognize the ways in which I hold privilege. This is especially important when conducting evaluation work overseas. When we don’t recognize our privilege, it can affect our perception in ways that are hurtful to other can hurt the communities were are trying to help.

Rad Resource: Check out this poetry slam performance called “Feminism” from the 2014 Brave New Voices Festival, the nation’s first youth-centric poetry slam, and the most diverse spoken word event in the world. The performance features young poets as they tackle the topic of mainstream feminism, and highlights how race should not prevent women and girls of color from being a visible part of the movement for gender equality. While there is a long way to go towards fully realizing gender equality, the young women say in unison, “Feminism isn’t just for white women any more, and it never was. Even when we disagree, we are burning the table, [and] building a new one. No one is invited because everyone is already here.”

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Feminist Issues in Evaluation (FIE) TIG Week with our colleagues in the FIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our FIE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Hi, I’m Nora F. Murphy, a developmental evaluator deeply committed to social justice. I recently attended the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI) Spring Training and Donna Mertens’ workshop on Weaving Social Justice and Evaluation Together. Stimulated by the concepts and conversations I have been reflecting on how social justice appears in my practice and had the following insights:

Lessons Learned:

#1: I actively choose evaluations of projects related to systems change to increase social justice and equity and assumed this was enough. Mertens challenged us to go a step further by placing human rights and social justice at the center. While these elements are always present in my evaluations they are not always at the center.

#2: Where people are working towards social justice and equity there is trauma—individual and community, past and present. Evaluators can ignore this and, I suspect, often do. I realized that my most meaningful evaluations did not ignore this but rather recognized and honored this aspect of people’s experiences.

#3: AEA’s Guiding Principles For Evaluators (2004) states that evaluators bear responsibility for general and public welfare. When designing an evaluation I can choose to ignore the trauma or design an evaluation that creates the space to recognize the trauma and promote healing as a way to benefit both individuals and society as a whole.

I will ask myself these questions and commit to the following as I explore the intersection of evaluation, social justice, trauma, and healing:

  • What gets placed at the center? Mertens suggests we place human rights and social justice at the center. I will be more intentional about doing so.
  • How do I attend to what’s in the center? I will consider methods that promote healing through deep listening, bearing witness, and creating opportunities for people to connect to their inner selves and to each other.
  • For what purpose and to what ends do we evaluate? Bob Williams suggested recently in an EvalTalk post (4.4.15) titled “Evaluation’s Warrant” that one possible purpose is to serve humanity. I will deepen my thinking about this idea.
  • Who is evaluating? Educator Parker Palmer (2009) asks himself: “How does the quality of my selfhood form— or deform— the way I relate to my students, my subject, my colleagues, my world?” In a similar vein I will ask this question of myself as an evaluator and do the inner work needed to bring my best self to my work.

Rad Resources:

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

My name is Donna M. Mertens and I am an independent consultant based in Washington DC; my work is both domestic and international. I had the honor of being the keynote speaker at the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI) in March 2015. The MESI theme was Social Justice amidst Standards and Accountability: The Challenge for Evaluation. The concept of social justice in the context of evaluation implies that evaluators can play a role in addressing those wicked problems that persist in society, such as violence, lack of access to quality education for all, poverty, substance abuse, and environmental pollution.

Lesson Learned: Wicked problems and Social Justice. Evaluators are concerned and involved in contributing to the solution of wicked problems. They also recognize the importance of bringing a social justice lens to this work. Michael Harnar conducted a survey of 1,187 evaluators and reported that 69% (n=819) either strongly or somewhat agreed with this statement: Evaluation should focus on bringing about social justice.

Rad Resource: Mertens, D.M. editorial: Mixed Methods and Wicked Problems, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 2015, 9, 3-6. Abstract http://mmr.sagepub.com/content/9/1/3.extract

Harnar, M. (2014). Developing criteria to identify transformative participatory evaluators. JMDE. http://journals.sfu.ca/jmde/index.php/jmde_1/article/view/383

Lesson Learned: Social Justice Lens Leads to Different Evaluation Questions. Evaluators who work with a social justice lens are concerned with the question of program effectiveness and answering the impact question, Did “it” work? They are also interested in asking other types of questions:

  • Was “it” the right thing?
  • Was “it” chosen and/or developed and implemented in culturally responsive ways?
  • Were contextual issues of culture, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, deafness, religion, language, immigrant or refugee status, age or other dimensions of diversity used as a basis for discrimination and oppression addressed?
  • How were issues of power addressed?
  • Do we want to continue to spend money on things that don’t work?

Rad Resource: Native American Center for Excellence published Steps for Conducting Research and Evaluation in Native Communities that provides a specific context in which a social justice lens is applied in evaluation.

Lessons Learned: Social Justice Criteria for Evaluators. Evaluators who work with a social justice lens consider the following criteria to be indicators of the quality of the evaluation:

  • Emphasizes human rights and social justice
  • Analyses asymmetric power relations
  • Advocates culturally competent relations between the evaluator and community members
  • Employs culturally appropriate mixed methods tied to social action
  • Applies critical theory, queer theory, disability and deafness rights theories, feminist theory, critical race theory, and/or postcolonial and indigenous theories

Rad Resource: Reyes J., Kelcey J., Diaz Varela A. (2014). Transformative resilience guide: Gender, violence and educationWashington, DC: World Bank.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating MESI Spring Training Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from evaluators who presented at or attended the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute Spring Training. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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