Dear Gender and Evaluation Colleagues,
I hope all is well. A few days ago I wrote you mentioning that I am currently conducting a research on the use of language in evaluation and I asked you to kindly share some valuable resources on this topic. The response has been pretty good so far and I am in the process of compiling a list of the recommended resources. Today, I would like to follow up and hear more about your own experience and thoughts on this subject. In particular, I have three quick questions dealing not so much with your use of technical evaluation language (e.g., I won’t ask you about the definitions of output, outcomes or impact) but rather with your use of language that has either strengthened or weakened your interactions with partners and clients in the course of your evaluation work in the past.
THREE QUICK QUESTIONS (please write your responses under each question and e-mail them back by Tuesday September 16. You could either reply to all or e-mail your responses to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will send a summary of all your contributions at the end of my analysis)
1) What are words or expression that you used in the past but that you no longer use since you or your partners/clients perceived them to be inadequate or offensive? (e.g., in terms of cultural competence and equity)?
2) What are words or expressions that that you have started using more often in the course of your evaluation assignments over the last few years since they appear to be particularly well received by your evaluation partners and/or clients?
3) How could you explain other evaluation colleagues how to promote a more respectful use of language in evaluation (e.g., equity-focused and culturally competent language) in their profession? How could you “detect” that some expressions are no relevant to the success of an evaluation? Also, what could you do to promote the use of more culturally competent language within the evaluation community?
Thank you so much for your time and interest.
Michele Tarsilla, Ph.D.
Evaluation Capacity Development Group, Vice-President
Chair of the International and Cross-Cultural Evaluation TIG at AEA
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