Principles, Approaches, and Methods for Evaluation in Indigenous Contexts: A Grey Literature Scoping Review

  • Kriti Chandna
  • Michelle M Vine
  • Susan Snelling
  • Rachel Harris
  • Janet Smylie
  • Heather Manson
Keywords: Indigenous communities, Indigenous context, scoping lit­erature review


This article describes findings from a scoping review of the grey literature to identify principles, approaches, methods, tools, and frameworks for conducting program evaluation in Indigenous contexts, reported from 2000–2015 in Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. It includes consultation with key informants to validate and enrich interpretation of fi ndings. Th e fi  fteen guiding principles, and the approaches, methods, tools, and frameworks identifi ed through this review may be used as a starting point for evaluators and communities to initiate discussion about how to conduct their evaluation in their communities, and which approaches, methods, tools, or frameworks would be contextually appropriate. 

Author Biographies

Kriti Chandna
Kriti Chandna was a research assistant at Public Health Ontario during the writing of this manuscript. She is currently a Health Promotion and Research Analyst at the Region of Waterloo Public Health. Her research interests include program evaluation, health promotion, and Indigenous health.

Michelle M Vine
Michelle M. Vine is an Evaluation Specialist at Public Health Ontario and holds an adjunct appointment at the University of Waterloo. She is currently working to complete the Credentialed Evaluator designation from the Canadian Evaluation Society. Her research interests include healthy policy, public health program evaluation, school nutrition policy, children and youth and qualitative methods.

Susan Snelling
Susan J. Snelling is an Evaluation Specialist at Public Health Ontario and holds a Credentialed Evaluator designation from the Canadian Evaluation Society. She is of Métis ancestry and holds an adjunct appointment at Laurentian University. Her research focuses on program evaluation and the use of evidence-informed practices in public and population health, particularly with respect to Indigenous health and rural and Northern health. 

Rachel Harris
Rachel Harris is a Research Facilitator at Public Health Ontario. Her interests include community-based participatory research, arts-based and qualitative research methods, health equity, and decolonizing public health.
Janet Smylie
Janet Smylie is a respected international leader in the field of Indigenous health and one of Canada’s first Métis physicians. Her 25-year career has been focused on addressing inequities in the health of Indigenous peoples in Canada by bridging gaps in health knowledge and practice.  She currently holds a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Applied Public Health Research Chair in Indigenous Health Knowledge and Information at St. Michael’s Hospital, where she directs the Well Living House Action Research Centre for Indigenous Infant, Child and Family Health and Wellbeing and is an active staff physician.
Heather Manson
Heather Manson is Chief of Health Promotion, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention at Public Health Ontario. She has over eight years of experience in public health research and evaluation, and extensive clinical, public health and health system leadership experience. She is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto (status only) and the University of Waterloo, and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. She is principal investigator on a project to describe neighbourhood walkability in Canada to investigate its association with physical activity and obesity, a CIHR-funded dissemination grant to report on the burden of mental illness and addictions in Canada, and a province-wide process evaluation of the Healthy Babies, Healthy Children Program in Ontario.