Jill Anne Chouinard

Fall

The Impact of Practice on Pedagogy: Reflections of Novice Evaluation Teachers

Authors:
Pages:
280-287

In this practice note two novice evaluation teachers share their findings from research conducted with students who were enrolled in a theory and practicum course in evaluation. The study focused on understanding how and in what ways students navigate between the world of theory and the world of practice. The findings from this study subsequently led to a re-envisioning of the course offerings to provide a more nuanced transition between two dichotomized conceptualizations of evaluation (theory and practice), revised syllabi, and the addition of a third course. The implications of this research (and subsequent pedagogical revisions) raise important issues for evaluation teachers and practitioners, as we continue to debate the relationship between theory and practice in evaluation.

Moving Beyond the Buzzword: A Framework for Teaching Culturally Responsive Approaches to Evaluation

Authors:
Pages:
266-279

The terms cultural responsiveness and cultural competence have become ubiquitous in many fields of social inquiry, including in evaluation. The discourse surrounding these issues in evaluation has also increased markedly in recent years, and the terms can now be found in many RFPs and government-based evaluation descriptions. We have found that novice evaluators are able to engage culturally responsive approaches to evaluation at the conceptual level, but are unable to translate theoretical constructs into practice. In this article we share a framework for teaching culturally responsive approaches to evaluation. The framework includes two domains: conceptual and methodological, each with two interconnected dimensions. The dimensions of the conceptual domain include locating self and social inquiry as a cultural product. The dimensions of the methodological domain include formal and informal applications in evaluation practice. Each of the dimensions are linked to multiple domains within the Competencies for Canadian Evaluation practice. We discuss each and provide suggestions for activities that align with each of the dimensions.

Special Issue

A Critical Exploration of Culture in International Development Evaluation

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Pages:
248-276

In this article we provide a comprehensive review of 71 studies on evaluation in international development contexts published over the past 18 years. The primary purpose of the review is to explore how culture is being conceptualized and defined in international development contexts and how evaluation practitioners, scholars, and/or policymakers who work in international development evaluation frame the role of culture and cultural context in these settings. In this article we ask: How is culture framed in the international development evaluation literature? To what extent do descriptions of evaluation (design, processes, and outcomes) reflect other knowledge and value systems and perspectives? Whose values and world-views inform the evaluation design and methodology? How does the community's cultural context inform the evaluation methodology and methods used? Based on our analysis, we identify and discuss five themes: the manifestation of culture along a continuum from explicit to implicit, a cultural critique of participatory practice in international development, the limits of social constructivist epistemologies and representations of voice, evaluation as a cultural practice, and cultural engagement and the multifaceted evaluator role.

Introduction: Decolonizing International Development Evaluation

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Pages:
237-247

Despite the recognition that evaluation is an intensely cultural practice (House, 1993) influenced by Western epistemological approaches to social inquiry, there seems to be little discussion in the literature about the broader implications of our practice in terms of highlighting the relevance (and location) of culture and cultural context in international development evaluation (Chouinard & Cousins, 2015). This is a significant Omission, particularly given the rather long history of Western colonialism in much of the developing world. In this Special Issue we raise some fairly fundamental questions about how culture is being conceptualized in international development contexts, and how and to what extent local, extremely marginalized, and Indigenous cultures are being included in the conVersation. Who is defining the parameters of what counts as legitimate discourse? More importantly, where is culture located in our definitions of evaluation as we continue to export and expand our methodological practices across the globe?

Spring

From New Public Management to New Political Governance: Implications for Evaluation

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Pages:
1-22

Public administration scholars have discerned a shift in the federal governance context in Canada, from what was traditionally a strong, nonpartisan public service to a more politicized, even partisan, model of public decision-making with power concentrated in the upper reaches of the political executive. We explore the potential implications of these changes for evaluation in the federal bureaucracy. Our analysis, tentative at this point, suggests that in light of heightened political pressures, and a decline in the use of “evidence” in federal policy circles, evaluations may present an increasingly complex activity for public administrators to manage. these developments raise important questions for the evaluation community about its relationships with public managers and its role and professional values in a democratic institution.

Fall

BOOK REVIEW: Donna M. Mertens. (2009). Transformative Research and Evaluation

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Pages:
265-267

Special Issue

Understanding Organization Capacity for Evaluation: Synthesis and Integration

Authors:
Pages:
225-237

The special issue is devoted to the examination of organizational capacity for evaluation and evaluation capacity building (ECB) through empirical inquiry. The compilation consists of two quantitative surveys of evaluators and seven single or multiple case studies across a broad array of organizations in a diverse contexts (e.g., east-central Ontario, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Israel). In this final article, the authors look across the collection of studies to identify emerging themes and trends with implications for ECB. The emergent themes are defining ECB; conceptualizing ECB outcomes; organizational context; ECB implementation issues; and enabling factors and barriers to organizational evaluation capacity development.

Spring

Learning Through Evaluation? Reflections on Two Federal Community-Building Initiatives

Authors:
Pages:
51-77

In recent years, the federal government has launched numerous pilot projects to tackle complex, localized policy problems through new modes of governance involving vertical engagement with community-based organizations and horizontal collaboration across departments. A key purpose of these time-limited projects is policy learning, with an emphasis on action research and stakeholder dialogue to inform future innovation. However, realizing the possibilities for learning through pilot projects requires evaluation frameworks sensitive to the particular challenges of collaborative and community-based policy making. Through comparative case study analysis of two recent federal pilot projects, we highlight tensions in prevailing approaches and explore strategies for better alignment of federal evaluation frameworks with the needs and capacities of local communities.