Inclusive Evaluations


It is always ethical to engage many stakeholders, representing many different perspectives, in preparing for, designing and carrying out evaluation, and in making meaning of results. It is also strategic. This is because evaluations that are genuinely inclusive make sure that people know the purpose and consequences of evaluation, so they can make reasoned decisions about their level of support and participation. When an evaluation is structured to be as inclusive as possible, it can help the stakeholders to build ownership in the findings. Sometimes, this will also build anticipation and audiences for the actions that might come from those findings.

This section includes resources on some of the most common ways people think about inclusiveness in evaluations, including participatory evaluation and multiculturalism in evaluation. It is important to note that traditional evaluation, as it is often practiced in the U.S. today, reflects a number of assumptions consistent with white cultural norms. For example, quantitative information (numbers, counts) often gets more weight than qualitative information (interview information, stories, observations, history) – particularly when their findings conflict. Similarly, “objectivity” is privileged. The term is generally taken to mean an outside observer (someone not directly involved) describing other people’s experiences; this alone, however, does not account in a serious way for the multiple filters (e.g. internalized advantage or internalized oppression, heterosexism, ageism) the observer is likely to bring to that understanding. Participatory evaluation and multiculturalism in evaluations are among the ways groups try to shift power arrangements in evaluation and/or identify and try to counter white cultural filters often brought to their evaluation work.



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