Resources for Culturally Responsive Evaluation

Evaluators interact with a broad range of people from many political, religious, ethnic, language, and racial groups. Therefore, they must be responsive to cultural issues in their work. Frierson, Hood, Hughes, and Thomas state in The 2010 User-Friendly Guide to Project Evaluation (NSF 2010a, p. 75): "Culturally responsive evaluators honor the cultural context in which an evaluation takes place by bringing needed, shared life experiences and understandings to the evaluation tasks at hand and hearing diverse voices and perspectives. The approach requires that evaluators critically examine culturally relevant but often neglected variables in project design and evaluation. In order to accomplish this task, the evaluator must have a keen awareness of the context in which the project is taking place and an understanding of how this context might influence the behavior of individuals in the project."

The American Evaluation Association (AEA) affirms the significance of cultural competence in evaluation, stating: "To ensure recognition, accurate interpretation, and respect for diversity, evaluators should ensure that the members of the evaluation team collectively demonstrate cultural competence. Cultural competence is a stance taken toward culture, not a discrete status or simple mastery of particular knowledge and skills. A culturally competent evaluator is prepared to engage with diverse segments of communities to include cultural and contextual dimensions important to the evaluation. Culturally competent evaluators respect the cultures represented in the evaluation throughout the process.” More information from AEA on cultural competence, including essential practices on cultural competence, can be found in the American Evaluation Association Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation.

AEA also operates several Topical Interest  Groups (TIGS), several of which focus on aspects of cultural competence. TIGS with online information include:

Disabilities and Other Vulnerable Populations TIG 

International and cross-cultural evaluation TIG  

LGBT Issues TIG  

Multiethnic issues in evaluation 

Additional resources for understanding and performing culturally responsive evaluation include:

The Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This interdisciplinary endeavor brings together researchers from across the College and University, as well as domestic and international research partners, to address the growing need for policy-relevant studies that consider cultural norms, practices, and expectations in the design, implementation, and evaluation of social and educational interventions.

Practical strategies for culturally competent evaluationThis guide from the Center for Disease Control provides strategies for approaching evaluation with a critical cultural lens to ensure that evaluation efforts have cultural relevance and generate meaningful findings that stakeholders will use. Although the guide focuses on the evaluation of public health programs, its guidance is more broadly applicable.

Beyond Rigor: Improving Evaluations With Diverse Populations This website was developed by the Science Museum of Minnesota and Campbell-Kibler Associates to provide tips on designing, implementing, and assessing the quality of evaluations on programs and projects to improve the quality, quantity, and diversity of the STEM workforce.