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DUP TIG Week: DUP Week: Inclusive Evaluation Design – Size and Space for Approach and Use by June Gothberg and Caitlyn Bukaty

Welcome to Day 7 of Inclusive Evaluation Design hosted by the Disabilities and Underrepresented Populations TIG. We are June Gothberg and Caitlyn Bukaty, chairs of the DUP TIG and this week we feel hopeful that we have brought you information from the TIG at-large that will be useful in your inclusive evaluation practice.

As we conclude the week, we feel it’s imperative to revisit the importance of inclusive evaluation designs. Although inclusion has become a frequent ‘buzzword’ and an ideal to which many organizations express their commitment, it is a concept that is still poorly defined and understood especially when it comes to evaluation. When we hear the term ‘inclusion’, we may think of approaches that ‘include’ specific groups. While it’s important to think of subgroups and underrepresented populations such as disability-inclusive, gender-inclusive, minority-inclusive, etc., focusing on one status or identity is not enough to meet fully inclusive evaluation designs. Focusing on one subgroup, may lead us to unintentionally exclude others or miss other aspects of a participant’s identity. Participants are rarely a single identity, instead we need to recognize that many of our participants may have multiple and intersecting identities that impact their experience. The participant may be a woman, with a disability, who is the head of household living, under the poverty level – with all these intersecting identities influencing their decision to become involved in a program and its subsequent evaluation.  Thus, inclusive evaluation practices, such as using Universal Design for Evaluation, seek to identify and reduce these barriers. Today, we share information on the final principle, Universal Design for Evaluation Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use.

Hot Tips

  • Principle 7 addresses the appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of user’s body size, posture, or mobility. A few things to think about as you plan your evaluation efforts:
    • whether you are in-person or virtual, make sure to provide a clear line of sight to important elements while seated, standing, or virtually viewing (e.g., can the participant see well from where they are sitting, does closed captioning impede viewing the screen?)
    • make sure your participant is physically comfortable throughout their involvement
    • make sure that in-person areas offer enough space to move around comfortably while using a wheelchair, walker, crutches, or pushing a stroller
    • whether you are in-person or virtual, make sure to provide adequate space and time for the use of assistive devices or personal assistance
    • plan for wheelchair accessible seating including height if sitting at tables (see example below of a woman reaching into an accessibly position drawer from her wheelchair)
Photo by CDC on Unsplash
  • Many people have sensory sensitivities that are invisible or difficult to detect in advance, including those with allergies, migraines, anxiety, triggers, seizures, restlessness, neurodiversity, etc. A few things to consider as you are planning your evaluation efforts:
    • fragrance-free events
    • lower lighting and avoiding flickering florescent lights
    • minimizing outside noise
    • seating away from doors and windows
    • providing quiet ‘fidget’ toys like stress balls
    • give participants permission to doodle

Rad Resources

  • We’d love to hear from you and have you join in our discussions at AEA’s Disabilities and Underrepresented Populations TIG
  • You can find resources and past year’s presentations at the Disabilities and Underrepresented Populations TIG Webpage http://comm.eval.org/dup/home
  • Universal Design for Evaluation Checklist (5th Ed) Principle 7 Size and Space for Approach and Use – this research-based checklist was developed specifically for evaluators by the DUP TIG at AEA to assist evaluators in designing inclusive evaluations.

The American Evaluation Association is hosting the Disabilities & Underrepresented Populations TIG (DUP) Week. The contributions all week come from DUP 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. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

1 thought on “DUP TIG Week: DUP Week: Inclusive Evaluation Design – Size and Space for Approach and Use by June Gothberg and Caitlyn Bukaty”

  1. Hi June and Caitlyn,
    I loved reading this blog post! There were so many useful and easy tips shared in this post that I will take with me. As a learning services teacher, I am always looking for new ways to support inclusion in my school. I agree that inclusion is a buzz word and also see some colleagues committing to it while not having the tools to effectively implement it in their classrooms. One of my goals as an LST is to be able to provide and support my colleagues with resources and tips to support the inclusion of students in our classrooms. I work at a school for the Deaf and we are constantly implementing new ways to ensure our classrooms and spaces are accessible for everyone. Some of the things teachers do in at our school is to sit the students in a horseshoe position so that each student can easily see the teacher or the person who is signing. Another inclusive strategy the teachers at my school use is limiting the use of visual distractions for our students; as our students need visuals to support their education, it is important that visuals are only used in a meaningful and educational way. I appreciate that you shared some tips about including interpreters and ensuring that the closed captioning does not impede the screen the viewer is trying to look at. Whenever we have a virtual meeting, we always have an interpreter that is “pinned” to the screen so that the viewers have constant line of sight to the interpreter. I am familiar with Universal Design for Learning but not as familiar with Universal Design for Evaluation; I think principal 7 is incredibly important but would assume it could be easily missed or overlooked. It is crucial to ensure the physical space is accessible for anyone. I was shocked to learn that in my apartment building only some of the doors are able to be opened electronically. For example, to access our shared garbage room, there are two doors you need to go through and both of these doors need to be opened manually. This is absolutely not accessible for someone who uses a wheelchair or walker or someone who is pushing a stroller. Another tip that I found helpful from your blog was to give people additional time before and after the meeting; this ensures people have time to set up their assistive devices or just have additional time to leave the space afterwards. I also think it is so important to check in with individuals throughout the meeting to ensure they are physically comfortable. I really appreciated that you mentioned participants are rarely a single identity; it is so important to recognize and include all groups instead of focusing on one sub-group. Your blog post has inspired me to look at previous blog posts about the other principles in Universal Design for Evaluation.
    Cami Hall

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