“Process Values” and “Deep Values” in Evaluation

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E. Jane Davidson


Background: Many evaluation theorists and practitioners have advocated the application of cultural values to the evaluation process to ensure cultural appropriateness and responsiveness.    Purpose: This article draws a distinction between these “process values” and “deep values” in evaluation, using the specific example of cultural values to illustrate. The application of “deep values” refers to the deliberate and systematic inclusion of [in this case, cultural] values in the very definitions of “quality” and “value” used in an evaluation, and in the evaluative interpretation of evidence. Setting: Not applicable. Subjects: Not applicable. Research Design: Not applicable. Data Collection and Analysis: Not applicable. Findings: Not applicable. Conclusions: Including “deep cultural values” in the “merit determination” or “valuing” step in evaluation is partly about ensuring the right voices are at the sense-making table, but it’s also about having practical evaluation-specific methodologies for systematically and transparently building in those cultural values.    

Keywords: values, ethics, culture, indigenous communities, communities of color, evaluation methodology, validity


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Davidson, E. J. (2010). “Process Values” and “Deep Values” in Evaluation. Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 6(13), 206–208. Retrieved from https://journals.sfu.ca/jmde/index.php/jmde_1/article/view/262
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