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.

A Conceptual Framework for Inquiry

“Key to the ancient and enduring concept of culture is the relatively modest, yet enormously consequential doctrine that if people think and feel differently about the world, they are not demented or stupid. Instead, they simply are making different assumptions and using different categories to make sense of the world they inhabit and find meaning in it” (Rosaldo, 2006, p. ix).

In this chapter, we provide a conceptual framework that locates culture in research and evaluation contexts along nine dimensions (epistemological, ecological, methodological, political, personal, relational, institutional, ontological, and axiological). This framework was originally conceptualized in earlier work (e.g., Chouinard &Cousins, 2009; Chouinard & Hopson, 2016; Chouinard & Milley, 2016) and has been recently enhanced through further re-visioning and discussion ...

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