Feminist Evaluation Understanding Research & Research Methods Term Paper

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Feminist Evaluation

Understanding Research & Research Methods in Social Work

Feminist evaluation: An evaluation of the conceptual framework

According to Rebecca M. Beardsley and Michelle Hughes Miller's 2002 article "Revisioning the process: A case study in feminist program evaluation," feminist program evaluations are based upon three core principles. The first principle is cooperation, namely that all relevant stakeholders must be considered when setting the standards for evaluation, not simply the program designers. The second is one of a lack of hierarchy -- the evaluation team members are all regarded as equal partners. Thirdly, the program must be evaluated from the ideological perspective of feminism. Although this final standard might seem unrealistic to use in program evaluation in anything buy a woman-oriented program, such as the program targeting females in the article, Beardsley and Miller point out that the majority of consumers of social services are female. The authors believe that collaborative program evaluative process is thus well-suited to the disproportionately female composition of the profession of social workers.

"In fourth-generation evaluation, the
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evaluator shifts from an authoritarian technical expert to a facilitator of a collaborative effort between the agency staff, the evaluator, and other stakeholders" (Beardsley & Miller 2002: 59). All voices are valued and during the first phases of the programming process. Members get to know one another and exchange ideas rather than reinforce social hierarchies. The metaphor used for bringing forth a new program is a 'birthing' process. Decisions are arrived at through consensus rather than through top-down decision making. Those individuals in higher positions of authority are asked to "leave their positions at the door" during team meetings (Beardsley & Miller 2002: 62). Cooperation between group members is the goal.

Beardsley and Hughes' evaluative program design is highly idealistic. There are some great strengths in adopting it, in terms of its ability to address deficits of program design that might be overlooked, if participants in the program are not actually consulted. Collaboration can generate new ideas that top-down hierarchical dictates cannot. However, the team described in the Beardsley and Miller article had several distinct advantages in generating collaborations between members. First and foremost,…

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References

Beardsley, Rebecca M. & Michelle Hughes Miller. (2002). Revisioning the process: A case study in feminist program evaluation. New Directions for Evaluation. 96: 57.

Hood, Denice Ward & Denice A. Cassaro. (2002). Feminist evaluation and the inclusion of difference: Revisioning the process: A case study in feminist program evaluation.

New Directions for Evaluation. 96: 27.

Sielbeck-Bowen, Kathryn A. Sharon Brisolara, Denise Seigart, Camille Tischler, Elizabeth

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