This presentation will look at how anthropology and evaluation can be put together in such a way that it forms a vital element of practicing anthropology. I will describe evaluation, look at ways it does and doesn’t fit into anthropology and talk about the skills needed for an anthropologist to work productively as an evaluator. I will demonstrate how evaluation anthropology works with a case study of the tuberculosis control in the US-Mexico border. This synthesis of two disciplines points the way to possible future matches of anthropology with fields of application that utilize tools like ethnography, cultural understanding and the management of diversity in developing human service programs. The presentation is based on my book, Evaluation: A Cultural Systems Approach, published by Left Coast Press in 2015.
Mary Odell Butler, PhD is an applied anthropologist with expertise in research design, methods, management, and supervision of evaluation projects. She has special expertise in program evaluation, evaluation research, and case study methods with an emphasis on linking findings to both quantitative and qualitative evidence. Her evaluation experience has focused on public health program evaluations at the federal, state and local levels. She is an adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the University of Maryland and at the University of North Texas offering graduate courses in evaluation anthropology and applied anthropology. Dr. Butler has significant service to anthropology in activities for the American Anthropological Association. She has conducted numerous workshops on evaluation, case study methods, mixed methods and careers in anthropological practice at professional meetings and in academic venues. She is a current elected member of the AAA Nominations Committee. She is a past chairperson to the AAA Committee on Practicing, Applied and Public Interest Anthropology and a past President of the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology, a member of the Executive Council for the AAA Section Assembly and She has authored Evaluation: A Culture Systems Approach (2015) and co-editor of a volume Scholar-Practitioners Addressing Global Issues, and has prepared a paper for this volume on the effects of global networks on public health systems. She has also completed studies of the effects of technological and economic change on reproductive health and human fertility in Latin America.
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