Evaluation findings for the ethnographer: What surprise?
Transcript Evaluation findings for the ethnographer: What surprise?
Considering Culture in
Evaluation and Applied
Rodney K. Hopson
AIA Web Conference on Culturally Competent
Practices in Program Evaluation
Collaborative and funded work from lectures, copresentations, research grants, published papers,
commissioned evaluation work:
National Science Foundation
American Evaluation Association/Center for Disease Control
Relevance of Culture in Evaluation Institute
Lincoln U, Manchester Metropolitan U, Claremont Graduate U
Development of pipeline programs to encourage
AEA Graduate Diversity Internship:
RWJF Evaluation Fellowship: http://www.rwjfevaluationfellows.org/
Recognize relevance and value-addedness
of culture in evaluation theory and practice
Identify strategies for assisting evaluators
and agencies in becoming culturally
Encourage the development of tips and tools
for working with agencies who work with
traditionally underserved and/or minoritized
Who are you? What do you do?
What disciplines, connections, experiences do
you bring into evaluation?
How are your disciplines,…important in the way you
think about evaluation?
How do you currently think about the role of
culture in evaluation and applied research?
How does your background help you think about the
role of culture in evaluation and applied research?
Reflections of an
Curry School bridge at UVa between education &
Linking (trans)disciplines: (educational) evaluation,
sociolinguistics, anthropology (Hopson, 2000)
Exploring connections between ethnography and
evaluation (Hopson, 2005)
Beyond “technocist imperatives of most program evaluations”
Extending Fetterman’s pioneering work and Stakes’ seminal
notions on countenance of educational evaluation
Challenging and resisting mainstream thinking on ways
of thinking about cultural diversity and difference
Legitimizing knowledge of communities of color or traditionally
Building spaces of hope, praxis and social action for same
New answers to increasing
complex questions @ culture
Who are you? What do you do?
What disciplines, connections, experiences do you
bring into evaluation? How do they help you think
What previous backgrounds or experiences do you bring
that might assist you in thinking culture in evaluation?
How do you currently think about the role of
culture in your practice?
How do you intend to use this discussion of culture in
evaluation to influence your practice?
the way of life of a group of people, the complex of
shared concepts and patterns of learned behavior that
are handed down from one generation to the next
through the means of language and imitation.
the ever-changing values, traditions, social and political
relationships, and worldview created, shared and
transformed by a group of people bound together by a
combination of factors that include a common history,
geographic location, language, social class, and
Cultural Contexts, Characteristics,
Locations, and Perspectives
Demographic, sociopolitical, contextual
Characteristics as dynamic, multifaceted,
learned, created, influenced
From personal to global position
Majority vs. minority
More than about race but inclusive of other
(SenGupta, Hopson & Thompson-Robinson, 2004;
Emerging approach/model used to guide
System and culmination of evaluation
Theoretical and political positioned (as are all
Demographic, sociopolitical, and contextual
dimensions, locations, perspectives, and
characteristics of culture matter
Privileging lived experiences, esp. communities and
populations of color
Avoiding the phenomenon of “evaluating down”
Theoretical and Practical Intersection of CRE:
Advocacy, Race, Power
Critical theories and
epistemologies of race
Social agenda and advocacy
theories, models and
approaches in evaluation
A set of academic and interpersonal skills that
allow individuals to increase their understanding
and appreciation of cultural differences and
similarities within, among, and between groups.
This requires a willingness and ability to draw
on community-based values, traditions, and
customs, and to work with knowledgeable
persons of and from the community in
developing focused interventions,
communications and other supports.
Talking as culturally
Scenario: Dialogue for Diversity
and Social Change (DDSC)
What elements of culture, at what levels,
seem salient to this scenario at first glance?
What elements of culture are you assuming
will not be as salient, based upon your initial
What is your own cultural position in relation
to these cultural elements?
How do we think about the relevance of
culture in all stages of evaluation for those in
public health, education, and other helping
Step 1: Prepare for the evaluation.
Step 2: Engage stakeholders.
Step 3: Identify the purpose of the
Step 4: Frame the right questions.
Step 5: Design the evaluation.
Step 6: Select and adapt instrumentation.
Step 7: Collect the data.
Step 8: Analyze the data.
Step 9: Disseminate and use the results.
(Frierson, Hood & Hughes, 2002)
use the results
of the evaluation
Select and adapt
1 Prepare for the Evaluation
Examine the sociocultural context of the
Intersecting cultural identifications
Assemble an evaluation team whose
collective lived experience is
appropriate to the context of the
Develop a stakeholder group
representative of the population served
Seek to include direct and indirect
Pay attention to distributions of power.
Include multiple voices.
Identify Purpose of Evaluation
Alignment of purpose with its intended
Program operates in ways that are
respectful of cultural context
Program resources are equitably
Benefits of program evaluation are
Applying Stages 1-3
Reflections on embedding culturally competent
evaluation in Indian Country
Build understanding of values that underlie programs
and projects and create value-added evaluative
Engage stakeholders in participatory manner
Build ethic of participation and capacity building that values
community, relationships, respect
Frame purpose by building conceptual picture/model
Careful of “too sequential and narrative driven” logic
Scenario: Stages 1-3
What elements of background and context
are important here? What more would you
want to know?
Who was included on the evaluation team
and what presumed skills, traits do they
bring to the evaluation process?
Based on the stated purpose of this
evaluation, who do you understand to be
the major stakeholders?
Frame the Right Questions
Include questions of relevance to significant
Determine what will be accepted as evidence
in seeking answers to the questions.
Examine whose voices are heard in the choice
of questions and evidence.
Is the lived experience of stakeholders
reflected in these choices?
Design the Evaluation
Build design appropriate to both evaluation
questions and cultural context.
Seek culturally appropriate methods that
combine qualitative and quantitative
Try to collect data at multiple points in time,
extending the time frame of the evaluation as
Construct control or comparison groups in
ways that respect cultural context and values.
Select & Adapt Instrumentation
Establish reliability and validity of
instruments for the local population.
Norms must be appropriate to the
group(s) involved in the program.
Language and content of instruments
should be culturally sensitive.
Adapt instruments as needed and
conduct additional validation studies.
Applying Stages 4-6
(Jay, Eatmon, & Frierson, 2005)
Evaluation of undergraduate STEM research
program designed for students of color
Deliberate design of evaluation team intimately
connected with program of study and background of
program, including similar lived experiences of
Questions were sensitive to lived experiences of
participants and focused on substance of participant
Beyond attention to traditional issues of success but exploring
issues of persistence as students of color
Attempt to address nuances and subtleties relative to
experiences and impact of program
Scenario: Stages 4-6
What/whose perspectives are
represented in the evaluation questions,
and what other questions might have
Whose perspectives are accepted as
credible evidence? Credible to whom?
How well does the time frame in this
study match the needs and rhythms of
Collect the Data
Procedures used to collect both
qualitative and quantitative data must be
responsive to cultural context.
Nonverbal as well as verbal
communications provide qualitative data.
Careful training of data collectors in both
technical procedures and culture is key.
Shared lived experience provides optimal
grounding for culturally-responsive data
Analyze the Data
Cultural context is a necessary
component of accurate interpretation.
Disaggregate data to examine diversity
Examine outliers, especially successful
A cultural interpreter may be needed to
capture nuances of meaning.
Stakeholder review panels can assist in
Disseminate & Use the Results
Cultural responsiveness increases both
the truthfulness and utility of the
Communication mechanisms must be
Inform a wide range of stakeholders.
Make use consistent with the purpose
of the evaluation.
Consider community benefit
Applying Stages 7-9
(Manswell Butty, Reid, & LaPoint, 2004)
Discussion of urban school-to-career
intervention program using culturally responsive
Input derived from school stakeholders on how best
to analyze and interpret data in ways that provided
meaning in particular contexts
Findings disaggregated by gender and age to get
breakdown of career attitudes and beliefs for
Findings provided to numerous stakeholders in
particular ways (e.g. student findings presented in
Scenario: Stages 7-9
What additional data collection
procedures might have been useful to
consider in designing a culturally
Given the findings briefly summarized,
what aspects of cultural context
might add meaning to guide
Were results shared in a culturally
Culture is relevant, if not central, to all
aspects of the evaluation process.
Thinking through project plans
Incorporating CRE approaches and thinking
in project planning and evaluation steps
What key ideas do you take away from
CRE? How can you inform your own
evaluation project with cultural lenses?
What questions do you continue to
have about CRE?
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