LA RED TIG Week: Evaluation Approaches with Latinx Communities by Lisa Aponte-Soto, Grisel M. Robles-Schrader and Arthur Hernandez

¡Saludos! We are Lisa Aponte-Soto, Grisel M. Robles-Schrader, and Arthur Hernandez co-chairs of the Latinx Responsive Evaluation Discourse Network or La RED TIG. Lisa Aponte-Soto, PhD, MHA serves as Associate Director of Community Engaged Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Grisel Robles-Schrader, MPA is the Research Portfolio Manager, Center for Community Health and MPH Field Experience Director, Programs in Public Health at Northwestern University. Arthur Hernandez is a professor at the University of Incarnate Word.

This week La RED highlights ways to advance evaluation for and with Latinx communities. As we reflect on the array of topics, we want to emphasize the heterogeneity of the Latinx population and the importance of not generalizing across subgroups, nationalities, or geographic areas. Latinx are vastly diverse with distinct experiences, values, and linguistic differences. Evaluators need to tend to each community based on its ethnic identity and geographic location.  This is not solely a social justice issue, though that is an extremely important consideration to be sure.  It is a matter of technical rigor and ensuring the processes, outcomes, interpretations and implications of evaluation are sound, reasonable and respectful – all ethical requirements of the conduct of any evaluation.

The following tips extract from our experiences working with Latinx communities to conduct evaluation and assessments.

Hot Tips:

  1. Evaluation Approach – Adapting a participatory approach that is inclusive of the perspective of Latinx can be beneficial in countering historical experiences with misuse and abuse of personal and health information that may place undue physical harm or in some cases jeopardize status in the U.S. Inclusivity will help frame the evaluation instruments and tools and build trust.
  2. Terminology – La RED prefer to use Latinx an ethnic identifier because it is a gender-neutral term to reference individuals of Latin American descent. However, it is necessary to acknowledge that there is variability in how the Latinx community identifies. Some members identify as Latinos, Latinas, or Hispanics, while others will prefer their nationality. Evaluators should become familiar with the communities they are serving and tailor instruments accordingly.
  3. Location – Where the evaluation is conducted matters. Evaluators should situate data collection within the Latinx community being served and within spaces that community members feel most comfortable.
  4. Self Reflection – Any sound evaluation practice requires the evaluator carefully consider her/his own motives, experiences, perspectives, expectations, and readiness to engage in the work throughout the process. Evaluation concerns the assessment of value which can often be judged differently depending on perspective.

Rad Resources:

The CDC’s Healthy Communities Program developed Building Our Understanding: Culture Insights Communicating with Hispanic/Latinos, a resource that includes information on Latinx culture and strategies for communicating with Latinx communities.

LA RED is a space for evaluators working collaboratively with/for Latina/o communities regardless of their personal racial-ethnic background. To join the discourse, please email us at lared.tig@gmail.com.

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.

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