Evaluators have always worked in diverse communities, and the programs they evaluate are designed to address often intractable socio-political and economic issues. Evaluations that explicitly aim to be more responsive to culture and cultural context are, however, a more recent phenomenon. In this book, Jill Anne Chouinard and Fiona Cram utilize a conceptual framework that foregrounds culture in social inquiry, and then uses that framework to analyze empirical studies across three distinct cultural domains of evaluation practice (Western, Indigenous and international development). Culturally Responsive Approaches to Evaluation provide a comparative analysis of these studies and discuss lessons drawn from them in order to help evaluators extend their current thinking and practice. They conclude with an agenda for future research.

The International Development Context

“Culture is not simply the folkloric or exotic surface of peoples ‘not like us,’ but is the underlying fabric of their whole society.” (Eversole, 2005, p. 300)

Overview of Chapter

The focus in this chapter is on the shifting and increasingly globalized international development context, a place where boundaries and borderlands become spaces of cultural interaction and contestation, particularly as multiple and diverse communities now share this historically controverted terrain. Our review turned up 25 published articles, the majority of which are reflective case narratives based on prior evaluation experiences with programs situated in culturally diverse communities, spanning 17 years (from 2000 to 2017).

We begin with a brief discussion of the context in which international development evaluations take place, focusing on the ...

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