The Critically Reflective Evaluator: Adult Education's Contributions to Evaluation for Social Justice

Thomas Archibald, Leah C. Neubauer, Stephen D. Brookfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In this chapter, we suggest that current conversations about evaluative thinking would be enriched by the addition of insights from critical adult education rooted in critically reflective practice and critical theory. From our perspective situated in the praxis of adult education, we first review a sampling of literature on critical theory and critical reflection in evaluation, framed in terms of how evaluation theorists conceptualize the role of values and valuing in evaluation and how they envision the role of evaluation in society. Then, we explore some conceptual and practical overlaps between evaluative thinking, critical thinking, and critically reflective practice. Finally, we elucidate some implications of critical evaluative thinking for social justice evaluation, touching also on what implications this work might have even for those evaluators who do not perceive linkages and overlap between evaluative thinking and social justice. In doing so, we highlight new directions for the foundational training and continuing professional development of evaluation practitioners and scholars based on an examination of oneself and of one's paradigmatic assumptions through constant critical reflection, investigation, and action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-123
Number of pages15
JournalNew Directions for Evaluation
Issue number158
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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