Grounding evaluations in culture

Maurice Samuels, Katherine Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The emergence of and the attention given to culture in the evaluation field over the last decade has created a heightened awareness of and need for evaluators to understand the complexity and multidimensionality of evaluations within multicultural, multiracial, and cross-cultural contexts. In this article, the authors discuss how cultural considerations can be incorporated within other evaluation approaches (e.g., school-based evaluation). The authors begin with a selective review on the rapidly growing literature on culture and evaluation, with particular attention to culturally responsive evaluation. After sketching the foundations and implementation of this approach, designated as culturally relevant democratic inquiry (CDI), the authors present an excerpt from a CDI pilot the authors have conducted. The article concludes with an analysis of the potential benefits and current challenges to implementing CDI and integrating culture into evaluations in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-198
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Evaluation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • accountability
  • cross-cultural evaluation
  • culture
  • school-based evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management


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