Greetings, I am June Gothberg, the Chair of the Disabilities and Other Vulnerable Populations TIG. We have been honored to be included in aea365 and hope that you have gained in your knowledge and expanded your evaluator toolbox this week.
I would like to wrap up our week with the broad topic of inclusive evaluation. I was introduced to the term in the late 90s by our past AEA President, Donna Mertens. In her 1999 AJE article, she stated “Inclusive evaluation has the potential to contribute to an enhanced ability to assert truth, objectivity, credibility, validity, and rigor… based on a review of world history, certain groups have been systematically excluded from having meaningful participation in the design, implementation, and use of evaluations that impact them”. It’s my belief that in order for evaluators to provide unbiased, accurate, and useful results, they must attend to those in the margins.
Lessons Learned and Hot Tips:
- Increasing participation from marginalized populations increases evaluation validity and reliability. Think about it, without the voices of all, how do we make recommendations for all?
- Marginalized populations may include more than you know. In addition to people with mental or physical disabilities there are: addicts, historically oppressed, homeless, LGBTQ, low-income, low-literate, the aging, those from the non-dominate culture, trauma survivors, veterans, and women and girls.
- Persons from marginalized or vulnerable groups may be hard to identify. Many vulnerabilities are invisible. For example, people with learning disabilities, veterans with PSTD, people that have experienced abuse, or people with mental health issues.
- Learn the language. Professions outside evaluation are also tackling this issue but may use differing terms: education uses inclusion, mainstreaming, least restrictive environment, employers tend to use the terms integrated and equal access; community planners and agencies use terms like independent, universal, accessible, and livable.
- Accommodations tend to benefit more than the marginalized person. I recently attended a MIhiddentalent.org conference where employers discussed the advantages of diverse work populations. On a large panel of the nation’s top employers, every one of them said the benefits to all employees far exceeded the cost of accommodating employees.
- AEA’s Cultural Competency Statement http://bit.ly/AEACC
- Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) http://bit.ly/CREAIL
- Mertens, D.M. (2009). Transformative research and evaluation. New York: Guilford Press. http://bit.ly/DMTrans
- Thurston & Jenson (2014). Merging Trauma-Informed and Universal Design Principles http://bit.ly/TIUDE
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating the Disabilities and Other Vulnerable Populations TIG (DOVP) Week. The contributions all week come from DOVP 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 firstname.lastname@example.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.