I use a queer theoretical, and multicultural feminist paradigm to queer evaluation methodology in the evaluation research conducted in this dissertation. Queering is an act of transforming, decentering, and disrupting social norms, reorienting focus towards subjectivities that mainstream society and research silences, erase, elides, and delegitimizes. My aim for this queering evaluation research is to offer Family Science and Evaluation Studies disciplines a conceptual and methodological framework for transformative assessment and scholarship. I accomplish my aim by highlighting two relationally- and experientially-based approaches to science, autoethnography, and phenomenology. Both studies elevate marginalized perspectives, decenter positivist paradigms, and disrupt evaluative and research norms. Through autoethnographic confessional tales in Study 1, I communicate my lived experiences and invite readers to sit with me in the backstage, where I focus the analysis on relational and structural underpinnings of program evaluation implementation. Throughout the work, I connect my standpoint to my research observations of Project CLEAR, the program I evaluated, as well as the organization that offered it. I position connections among self, self-as-researcher, and program participants within the context of healing from trauma and relational violence. Findings reveal tensions, failure, and growth within program stakeholder relationships. In Study 2, I interpreted and illuminated the life experiences of peer educators and the changes that occurred from their participation in Project CLEAR through a phenomenological lens. Peer educators are queer and transgender youth, and queer and transgender youth of color (QTYOC), aged 14-24. Findings highlight their experiences before, during, and their projected future orientation after Project CLEAR, revealing Project CLEAR’s efficacy to affect attitudinal, skill, knowledge, and behavioral changes. Finally, I discuss an emergent theory of change for Project CLEAR, suggest future directions for queering summative evaluation, and conclude with implications for healthy relationships programming and research with QTYOC.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2020. Major: Family Social Science. Advisor: Catherine Solheim. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 190 pages.
Queering Evaluation: An Autoethnographic and Phenomenological Analysis of a Peer-led Healthy Relationships Program Designed for Queer and Transgender Youth of Color.
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