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La RED TIG Week:  Reflections from an Emerging Evaluator about the Need for Latinx Evaluation Theory and Framework by Gabriela Castro

Hola Estimados Colegas Evaluadores/Hello Dear Colleagues Evaluators. My name is Gabriela Castro, and I work at the RAND Corporation as a Policy Analyst. I’m also currently studying to earn my PhD in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods at Claremont Graduate University (CGU).  

I work in a research-based institute, in which one of the core components of my work is to conduct research and evaluations, and I’m also earning my PhD to become a trained evaluator.  This brings me to converge in some evaluation sub-areas of study and work where evaluation theory and practice sometimes do not exist, but are very much needed. I have had the honor to collaborate on research studies and evaluations serving the Latinx community, and I strongly feel that even though all the work has been conducted thoughtfully and rigorously and with a high respect and appreciation for the Latinx community’s values and customs, what I have also noticed is that we are not using theories and/or frameworks that are specifically designed to address important challenges and needs of the Latinx community.

Moreover, if we look at the scientific literature, there is no such an evaluation theory or framework titled or dedicated specifically to the Latinx evaluation theory or framework. I want to add that this overall and humble reflection resonated when I took the class Comparative Evaluation Theory with Dr. Michael Patton at my PhD program in CGU University.  One of things that I learned in this class was that we have more than 70 evaluation theories and frameworks, but interestingly, none of them focus specifically to the whole aspect of the Latinx community.        

Therefore, based on what I have learned in my job and in the classroom, and considering a constantly growing Latinx community and evaluators interested on conducting evaluations within the Latinx community, I’m inevitably concerned to the point that I feel is my responsibility to recognize this need and secondly to start working on contributing to solve it or improve it in any possible way.     

It is important to include in this reflection that there has been excellent efforts dedicated to address and work on the needs and uniqueness of the Latinx community. Too many to name in this short blog. Many evaluators have already developed some great components for which one day could contribute to a Latinx theory and/or a framework, as we work toward consensus and collection of some scientific evidence.

I hope evaluators find this brief and humble reflection helpful and inspiring. I’m enthusiastically and proactively inviting evaluators interested in serving the Latinx community to join efforts and help to co-create theories and/or frameworks specifically for the Latinx community. We must have theories and frameworks that can take more into consideration the specificities of this large community living in the USA. Most importantly, to rely on frameworks that can consider the needs and challenges to design and practice evaluation in a more thoughtful, rigorous, effective, inclusive and in an ethical manner. Demonstrating our respect not only for the Latinx community, but for all the communities and the field of evaluation.  

Muchas gracias/many thanks for your time to read/comment on my post. Please feel free to share any comments/questions. I’m looking forward to reading them!

The American Evaluation Association is hosting 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. 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.

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