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.

Introduction

“As long as we conceptualize the issues of knowledge processes in terms of information transfer without giving sufficient attention to the creation and transformation of meaning at the point of intersection between different actors’ life-worlds, and without analyzing the social interactions involved, we shall have missed the significance of knowledge itself” (Long, 1992, p. 274).

Overall Background to Book

Program evaluation is a systematic process of data collection and analysis designed to address issues of program improvement, measure program effectiveness and the attainment of outcomes, and serve decision-making and accountability purposes. Many of the programs we evaluate are designed to address multifaceted and often intractable sociopolitical and economic issues, referred to by many as “wicked problems” or even “super-wicked problems.” Our news is dominated by ...

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