Sociology Professor Priscillia Lefebvre is one of the instructors involved in OC's new Applied Bachelor of Arts: Community Research and Evaluation. Here, she describes how an inclusive evaluation process brings community and researchers together.
Community evaluation helps us to understand how well a social program is working. It involves researching and collecting information about important aspects of a program, such as the events, elements and outcomes, with the goal of improvement and decision-making. Evaluation can tell us what is working and what is not according to the program’s aims and objectives. The evaluation process can guide us to what we can do to make social programs more effective, more inclusive, and help us to refine our short- and long-term priorities. It also keeps the program accountable to key stakeholders, such as service providers, community groups and the community in general.
Consider the following questions:
Are the right community members at the table?
Keep in mind that the “right community members” might change over time, so this question should be asked often.
Does the process and structure of meetings allow for all voices to be heard and equally valued?
It’s essential that meetings are accessible to all members involved. This could involve what day/time meetings take place, childcare needs, how the speakers list is kept and the ways in which decisions are made.
How are community members involved in developing and implementing the program or intervention?
All relevant aspects of the communities involved and/or affected by the program must be well-represented in terms of social identities and demographics.
How are community members involved in program evaluation?
Effective evaluation involves community participants at every step. This results in a sense of ownership and increased community engagement.
What kind of learning has occurred, for both the community and the academics?
The evaluation process should be a learning experience for everyone involved. Community members are given the opportunities to learn about things like research methods and academics have the chance to learn about the issues that are of concern to the community.
Find out more
Learn more about the Applied Bachelor of Arts at the online information session on Feb. 16. And meet ABA faculty members like Olivia Sullivan, Stephanie Griffiths and Priscillia Lefebvre during an online panel discussion Feb. 23. Register for these sessions here.
Questions taken from “Principles of Community Engagement - Second Edition.” https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/communityengagement/index.html
Applied Bachelor of Arts: Community Research and Evaluation
Study the social sciences and liberal arts through applied learning, including a field experience and a significant capstone research project. This innovative program prepares graduates to contribute solutions to regional issues and to access further studies in the Master of Social Work at UBC Okanagan.