Social Justice Evaluation of Social Collaborations and Partnerships: Thematic Review of Literature
This literature review complements the NCSEHE’s 2014 publication, Partnerships in Higher Education.
An extensive literature search was undertaken on multiple databases relevant to ‘social justice evaluation’ and the process and outcomes associated with ‘social collaborations and partnerships’ aimed at promoting the equity needs of socio-economically disadvantaged groups.
A total of 50 articles were identified for review and the following is an outline of the key themes which have been captured from the articles to highlight understandings related to social justice evaluation, social collaboration (partnerships and coalitions) and where social inclusion and empowerment of disadvantaged populations is a key collective goal.
While there is a plethora of theoretical understandings on social collaborations and program evaluation, the consensus is that evaluation of collaboration/partnerships involved with equity goals for disadvantaged populations must involve social justice evaluation frameworks. The goals of collaborations – partnerships (including community coalitions and community engagement) – are numerous and include many social justice actions: advocacy, outreach, education, prevention, service delivery, capacity building, empowerment, community action, and systems-level change.
The social justice evaluation approach also embodies numerous concepts and methodologies and can include theories of empowerment, social capital, sense of identity, sense of community, capacity-building, as well as photo-voice and action anthropology methodology. These concepts can also be integrated into a broader ecological level evaluation framework developed to assess the effectiveness of social collaborations and partnerships involved with the promotion of equity for socio-economically disadvantaged populations and communities. These evaluation frameworks are also designed to capture other measures of processes and outcomes linked to partnership goals.
The format of this thematic presentation of the literature review begins with understandings and imperative driving social collaborations and partnerships that have evolved in the global and national socio-political space. This is followed by the key contributors who advocate social justice evaluation approaches where social collaborations are involved with promoting the equity needs of powerless groups and communities. Evaluation frameworks which target general partnership goals and social justice goals are reviewed to enable the development of a broader ecological level evaluation framework to assess the effectiveness of social collaborations and partnerships.
The goal of this review is that the key elements of the concepts, theories and methodologies underpinning a social justice approach to evaluation has been captured to develop an evaluation framework that is appropriate for analysing the contribution of social justice partnerships in higher education (HE).
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