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Evaluating in traumatic contexts: Considering the contextual, ethical, emotional, and political aspects

Carol Mutch and Annie Weir

This article is drawn from the personal experience of two evaluators working in a post-disaster context. While the evaluators, also the authors of this article, were both experienced in a range of evaluation settings, they found that little in the evaluation literature prepared for them for working in such a physically exhausting and emotionally draining context. The article is set out in three parts. First, the authors synthesise the literature on evaluating in disaster and other traumatic contexts. Secondly, they outline the evaluation they undertook for The Salvation Army in the wake of the 2010/2011 Canterbury earthquakes. Finally, the authors reflect on their experiences by discussing the evaluation context, design, ethics, implementation and outcomes in order to add to our growing understanding of evaluating in traumatic contexts.

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