Australian Institute of Criminology

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Two-way accountability: improving ethical evaluation practice in Indigenous contexts

74 Leichhardt Street, Griffith ACT
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM 19 April 2012

Emma Williams

Indigenous peoples increasingly require that researchers recognise their accountability to research participants and to the communities in which they work. More holistic and Indigenous-centred models of research and evaluation have been proposed to address these concerns. In contrast, there has been increased pressure at the Government (funder) level for programs to demonstrate effectiveness, often within short timeframes, leading to a micro-accountability mindset in some program areas. Recent evaluation work in the Northern Territory highlights the tension between these two approaches, and the ethical dilemmas they can pose for external researchers. In this presentation the tensions between ‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’ evaluation approaches will be discussed, with particular reference to ethical dilemmas that may result and how these may be resolved.

Emma Williams

Emma Williams has had a long career in evaluation, research and program development in Canada and Australia, moving between academia, public service and private practice. From 2004 to 2009 she was a senior public servant in the Northern Territory managing the NT social policy agenda, and subsequently the development and evaluation of Indigenous-staffed anti-violence programs, including the creation of safe houses in remote Territory communities as part of the NTER. In 2009/10 she was a Principal Research Fellow, Social Partnerships in Learning Research Consortium, Charles Darwin University, where she evaluated one aspect of NTER while researching remote workforce development, and the linkages between policy, practice and research/evaluation. She is currently Director of Maburra Consulting in Canberra, a Senior Research Fellow at The Northern Institute of Charles Darwin University and a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at ANU.