Critical international evaluation: Culture, language and power

Session Number: ICCE5
Track: International and Cross Cultural Evaluation
Session Type: TIG Multipaper
Session Chair: Joseph Kotun [M&E Practice Lead - Sheladia Associates]
Presenter 1: Michele Tarsilla [Independent Evaluator and Capacity Development Specialist - Independent Evaluation Consultant ]
Presenter 2: Oladayo Omosa [Doctoral Student/Graduate Research Assistant - Virginia Tech]
Presenter 3: Alisu Schoua-Glusberg, Research Support Services [Principal]
Presenter 4: Akashi Kaul, Student [Research Assistant - George Mason University]
Presentation 2 Additional Author: Oladayo Omosa [Doctoral Student/Graduate Research Assistant - Virginia Tech]
Presentation 4 Additional Author: Akashi Kaul, Student [Research Assistant - George Mason University]
Time: Oct 28, 2016 (01:45 PM - 03:15 PM)
Room: A702

Abstract 1 Title: Language as a Driver of Culturally Acceptable Evaluation Practice
Presentation Abstract 1:

The objective of this paper is to encourage the session participants (be them evaluation practitioners, managers or commissioners) to critically think about their own cultural biases and how the latter affect their professional practice. The discussion will focus on the need for greater self-scrutiny of one's own language (either in writing or verbally) in the course of all interactions with clients, colleagues in field offices, interviewees, or staff of organizations that one is evaluating.  The paper will also assess the adequateness of the language used in international organization’s normative work (e.g. the Sustainable Development Agenda or the Global Evaluation Agenda) that is likely to affect the practice of international development evaluators in the future. By tackling these issues, this paper will promote a reflection on how to better promote a more intentional, respectfu and culturally acceptable use of evaluation language in all professional evaluation endeavors.


Abstract 2 Title: Culturally responsive evaluation: Perceptions of Nigerian evaluators
Presentation Abstract 2:

Recently, the importance of culture in evaluation has been gaining much attention. The American Evaluation Association has amplified the need for more attention to culture in the field of evaluation through its Statement on Cultural Competence. Also, in a bid to bring to the fore the place of culture in evaluation, the African Evaluation Association is promoting “Made in Africa” evaluation. Nigeria prides herself as a multiethnic state with diverse cultures. Yet, the processes and the findings from the evaluation of past community and rural development programs in Nigeria suggest that evaluation might not have been culturally responsive. This exploratory empirical study examined the relevance of culture in the evaluation of programs in Nigeria by exploring the perceptions of evaluators in Nigeria through online interviews. I posit that program evaluation in Nigeria to date has been insufficiently culturally responsive, hence, there is a need for more awareness of the subject


Abstract 3 Title: When Your Evaluation Involves Speakers of Different Languages: Incorporating Translation into Design
Presentation Abstract 3:

Evaluators are often faced with the need to collect data from linguistically heterogeneous populations or simply populations that do not speak the same language as the researchers. We understand the crucial importance of well thought and designed data collection instruments but often think of translation as a later step that we contract out without much control or methodological thinking. This presentation will discuss how to bring rigor and systematization to the translation process and what are best practices for research instrument translation and translation assessment.

Abstract 4 Title: Demystifying Participatory in Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation
Presentation Abstract 4:

In past decade, there has been a push towards a more participatory and collaborative approach in international development monitoring and evaluation. While those who are critical of how monitoring and evaluation has been conducted internationally thus far have welcomed this move, there have been challenges to the integration of participatory methods and monitoring and evaluation. In this paper, I attempt to understand what ‘participatory’ in participatory monitoring and evaluation, in the international development context, means. I intend to identify the characteristics that separate a monitoring and evaluation process from a participatory monitoring and evaluation process, according to experts and specialists in the field. The idea is to understand and bring to light, the greater issues of power and voice – as articulated by Freire in his work - in monitoring and evaluation in international development, from the perspective of those who conduct these evaluation processes. Utilizing the qualitative case study method, I am in the process of interviewing twenty monitoring and evaluation specialists and experts who specialize in participatory monitoring and evaluation and have written about the same a. This study will be a pilot for my final dissertation research, wherein I will study a participatory evaluation process as it unfolds in the field.

Audience Level: None

Session Abstract:  Critical international evaluation: Culture, language and power