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Ethical Responsibilities in Evaluations with Diverse Populations: A Critical Race Theory (CRT) Perspective
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Ethical Responsibilities in Evaluations with Diverse Populations: A Critical Race Theory (CRT) Perspective

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Washington Evaluators Brown Bag ...

Washington Evaluators Brown Bag
by Veronica Thomas
February 19, 2009

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  • 1. Ethical Responsibilities in Evaluations with Diverse Populations: A Critical Race Theory (CRT) Perspective veronica G. Thomas Howard University vthomas@howard.edu Presentation for the Washington Evaluators Group, February 19, 2009
  • 2. Presentation Overview • to provide an overview of critical theories (CT) as a form of oppositional scholarship • to discuss how critical race theory (CRT), in particular, can be used as lens for conducting more valid and ethical evaluations in diverse communities
  • 3. Critical Theories vs. Traditional Theories • CT oriented toward critiquing and changing society as a whole (seeking human emancipation) • Traditional theory mostly oriented toward simply describing, understanding, or explaining phenomena
  • 4. Roots of Critical Theory Historical roots of CT grounded in several generations of German philosophers and social theorists in the Western European Marxist tradition (Frankfurt School)
  • 5. Some examples of contemporary critical perspectives • Critical race theory • Critical feminist theory • Critical race feminism • Queer theory • World systems theory
  • 6. Critical race theory (CRT) • CRT roots in the 1970s and origin in law; now deeply grounded in an interdisciplinary knowledge base • Extends early generations of CT • Earlier CT theories criticized for failure to deliver emancipation for oppressed groups and denial of own oppressive practices
  • 7. Critical race theory (CRT) • Holds that race and racism lie at the nexus of American life • Challenges researchers to examine own values and ethical responsibilities for the facilitation of social change
  • 8. Ethical considerations throughout evaluation process • Study conceptualization and design • Data gathering • Data analysis and synthesis • Data interpretation • Report writing and synthesis
  • 9. More subtle ethical considerations • Right of evaluators to impose own ideology on people being studied • Unequal power relations between researcher and researched • Right of oppressed individuals to help shape research questions and interpretations • Lack of input on participants about how knowledge generated should be used and benefit them • Privileging of certain forms of research and devaluing of others
  • 10. Evaluator’s values and beliefs influence: • • • • • • • What questions are asked What issues are illuminated Which approaches are privileged What data are collected How interpretations are made What conclusions are drawn How results are presented and to whom
  • 11. Evaluation ethical dilemmas can be related to: • Procedural ethics (IRBs) • Situational ethics (case-by-case applied ethics) • Relational ethics (mutual respect, dignity, engagement, transparency)
  • 12. Additional ethical values and principles consistent with CRT approaches • Community benefit • Capacity building • Collaboration and inclusion • Equity and dignity
  • 13. CRT evaluators ethical stance via: • Identifying important evaluation issues in more inclusive ways • Framing more inclusive questions • Reviewing relevant literature and community history • Collecting and analyzing data to give “voice” • Forming conclusions/recommendations that and promote social equity and justice
  • 14. Five tenets of CRT Methodology (Solorzano & Yosso, 2002) • Placing race and its intersectionality at center of research • Using race in research to challenge dominant scientific notions of objectivity and neutrality • Having research connected to social justice and praxis with ongoing efforts in the community • Making experiential knowledge central • Emphasizing importance of transdisciplinary perspective