Evaluation 2018: Speaking Truth to Power

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Are We Part of the Problem or Solution?: Using Systems Approaches to Speak Truth(s) to Power(s) for Better or Worse

Session Number: 1457
Track: Presidential Strand
Session Type: Think Tank
Tags: Critical Systems Heuristics, culturally responsive evaluation, equitable evaluation, ethics, Social Justice, systems approaches, Systems Thinking
Session Facilitator: Bob Williams [Independent Evaluation and OD Consultant - All over the place]
First Author or Discussion Group Leader: Miles McNall [Director - Michigan State University]
Second Author or Discussion Group Leader: Emily Frances Gates [Assistant Professor - Boston College]
Time: Nov 02, 2018 (08:00 AM - 09:00 AM)
Room: CC -16

Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Evaluators wrestle with questions about their roles and responsibilities in addressing social problems and making the world a better place. Questions such as: Should I work on a project whose commissioners espouse different politics and values than mine? How can I negotiate terms of reference that are based on dubious assumptions? To what extent can I critically question the goals of an evaluand? When is it appropriate to examine the broader socio-political systems and issues that influence an evaluand? How can I be inclusive of multiple perspectives amidst power differences? While there are no easy (or agreed on) answers for these dilemmas, systems thinking and approaches offer conceptual and methodological strategies that can help evaluators think thru, navigate, and justify ways of dealing with these dilemmas. This session invites systems-evaluators to share stories, struggles, and successes of using systems approaches to navigate dilemmas of speaking truth(s) to power(s).

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