Examining Issues Facing Communities of Color Today: The Role of Evaluation to Incite Change

Leah C. Neubauer, Dominica McBride, Andrea D. Guajardo, Wanda D. Casillas, Melvin E. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The intersection of ethnicity, class, gender, and race and attention to advocacy, inclusion and equity have never been more enmeshed with program evaluation than is the case today. Sponsors of evaluation and evaluators seek guidance on how and when to embrace these issues in the populations impacted by programs under review. Those newly sensitized to the importance of context and culture expect evaluation to rightly manage inquiry to produce results reflective of multicultural validity and equitable impacts. With social justice and equity added to the evaluation equation, the issues communities face challenge and often overwhelm (a) the evaluation design, (b) goals and implementation, and (c) other evaluation processes. Evaluations that do not seek to put these issues in perspective with the broader structures and value systems that create the issues fail to adequately inform audiences regarding what is happening in the programs and community context. All parties involved are finding a shortage of literature that inform important evaluative decisions that address the multilevel, salient issues in communities served. Of special note is the small but slowly growing number of evaluation scholars and authors who are persons of color, from a younger generation, and born of a more activist evaluation style. This issue provides an update to and contemporizes previous evaluation literature focused on issues impacting minority populations in evaluation (1992) and culturally responsive evaluation (2004). The issue describes historical roots of this work, provides a contemporary framing of the issues, offers several frameworks and approaches for social justice evaluation, and concludes with inquiry for the future. Discussion of key insights into present-day issues in advocacy-oriented evaluation are included throughout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-11
Number of pages5
JournalNew Directions for Evaluation
Issue number166
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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