Culturally Competent Evaluation for Aboriginal Communities: A Review of the Empirical Literature

Much of program evaluation is concerned with understanding and improving social programs so that they are ultimately more responsive and more reflective of program participant needs. At the same time, these programs exist and are embedded within specific social, cultural and historical contexts which impact program development, implementation, and eventual outcomes. Evaluations that attempt to address responsiveness to contextual and cultural specificity are often referred to as culturally competent, culturally responsive, inclusive, multicultural, or cross-cultural, among other terms. While there are no agreed upon terminologies, definitions, or even methodologies, what these approaches all share is the recognition that culture and context matter, and that there are no universally agreed upon rules or abstractions that can be applicable in all contexts (Guba & Lincoln, 2005). The recognition of culture and context thus becomes ìan explicit criterion rather than an unspoken expectationî (SenGupta, Hopson, & Thompson-Robinson, 2004, p. 15) in evaluations of this type