EVALUATE

This section of the site is designed to help groups assess, learn from, and document their racial equity work, with special attention to issues of power and privilege in the work, and in evaluation. For guidance on evaluation terms, see the below discussion (updated from our earlier site, www.evaluationtoolsforracialequity.org) and consult the glossaries listed.


Many words that are used in evaluation have a very specific and technical meaning in that context, which may be different from their more general meaning in everyday speech. For example, in everyday speech, the words “impact” and “outcome” are both used as synonyms for “result.” However, people doing or writing up evaluations may use “outcome” to describe a changed state of being (which could be the result of a program, intervention, or activity) [...]

Resources in this section are meant to help groups prepare for an evaluation. Part of this preparation involves considering why time, energy, and resources are being invested in learning about this work. In addition, it is helpful to negotiate up front how findings and lessons will be used – not just how they will be shared, but what are the likely consequences of positive or negative results for different groups and stakeholders.

Resources in this section are intended to help groups think about how to define, track, and measure results (outcomes); articulate how strategies are expected to contribute to those outcomes (theory of change); and analyze their implications in terms of laying out the questions to be answered by evaluation. These are techniques for describing the work being done in a way that makes it easier to figure out how to document successes and challenges, and track progress and results.

This section covers an important part of evaluation: the design and creation of an evaluation plan. It offers tools, Tipsheets, and resources to help groups design their own evaluations. While a few resources focus on a particular area of work to be evaluated – for example, advocacy or leadership development – most of the information shared here is broadly applicable for groups designing an evaluation.


In addition, groups that are being evaluated can also benefit from reviewing these materials, as can those hiring an evaluator, or participating in an evaluation being designed or run by others.

This section includes tools, tips, and examples about data, including: potential sources for the kinds of data helpful in assessing racial equity work, methods for securing quality data, and some of the challenges of using existing databases. The questions a group wants to answer—for descriptive, monitoring, or evaluation purposes—will determine what information should be collected.

Resources in this section focus on various ways of organizing, making meaning of, synthesizing, and analyzing evaluation information.


One of the helpful things to remember about structural racism and privilege at the individual level is that people carry around many unconscious biases and learned narratives about race and racism. One of the features of structural racism and white privilege at a systemic level is the power it exerts on societal norms and values – that is, how society defines and reinforces what is considered normal or deviant, healthy or ill, constructive or destructive, and many other things. These patterns of thought are very likely to show up at this phase of evaluation.


At the same time, there are many opportunities at this stage to clarify, highlight, and share new ways of seeing with others. These opportunities are part of the pay-off for the effort groups and individuals expend early on, engaging multiple perspectives, grounding their work in thorough understanding of history, and developing or surfacing already developed consciousness about individual and systemic biases, racism, and privilege. Analysis can reveal the will and capacity of a group to understand and share multiple ways of seeing and working.

Resources in this section offer examples of different ways to present evaluation findings. Several highlight the importance of creating a context for viewers of the information. Why? Because, without a context for viewing the data, people will create their own explanations. And people without an understanding of the cumulative effects of systemic racism often tend to look only or mostly at individual—rather than institutional or structural—explanations that end up “blaming the victim” for poor group outcomes.


For further insights, see resources and site sections on Communicating for Racial Justice and Framing and Messaging.

Many groups doing racial equity work think about a cycle that includes planning, doing, reflecting, and refining. Information gleaned from knowledge development work and evaluation can play important roles at every phase of that cycle. Resources are grouped into two sets: those that can help groups reflect on the findings and processes of evaluation, and those that can help groups contribute to making habits of evaluation, and making knowledge development a routine part of a group or organization’s work.

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“Every great change must expect opposition because it shakes the very foundation of privilege.”

~ Lucretia Mott, Quaker abolitionist and women’s rights activist

SPOTLIGHT

Anti-Racism Evaluation Panel, Atlanta-area Evaluation Association

GLOSSARY

Cultural Appropriation

Cultural Racism

Ethnicity

Inclusion

People of Color

Racial and Ethnic Identity

Structural Racialization

Whiteness

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