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Community-Based Action Research Design
Unformatted Document Text:  involved community-based action research. This required students to consider an interdisciplinary orientation to devising a research design that, if carried out, would address a particular problem as determined by the community where they would conduct the research. I was not originally scheduled to teach this course and therefore had not done any extensive research on methods courses. It simply became my obligation when I learned upon taking over as a new department chair that the adjunct faculty member hired to teach it would not be returning. And since it is one of our two required courses for the major, and it was too late to find a replacement, given many constraining circumstances, I looked at this as an opportunity to come up with a methods course that the students would both learn from and also appreciate the perspective offered from our discipline. The objective of the course was to develop research design skills in the students that would provide them with the ability to empower communities in their development efforts, without positioning themselves as martyrs. While simultaneously working on development efforts I stressed to the students that they would also be able to embark on intriguing and transformational research and that this approach could serve them well in working with diverse communities. Naturally I stressed to the students that this was simply one approach to research design, not the only approach. On the syllabus I stated, “While the primary objective of this course is to focus on approaches and methods rather than on a specific content area, we will use the Indianapolis community to explore varying research possibilities.” What area of the Indianapolis community they decided to focus on was left up to them, however I did introduce them to the Mayor’s Neighborhood Action Center so that they could understand how the city determined neighborhood boundaries. Additionally they were made aware of the specific designees from the Mayor’s office responsible for facilitating neighborhood development as possible contact persons. The course began by asking the students to write a political values paper articulating generally what they thought about ideal community structure and how they feel their political values might influence the manner in which they approach the research process. I offered to the student that as this course would involve looking at neighborhoods/communities from a research standpoint in which we determine how one would develop appropriate methodology that addresses particular issues it is important to 2

Authors: Jett, Terri.
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involved community-based action research. This required students to consider an
interdisciplinary orientation to devising a research design that, if carried out, would
address a particular problem as determined by the community where they would conduct
the research. I was not originally scheduled to teach this course and therefore had not
done any extensive research on methods courses. It simply became my obligation when I
learned upon taking over as a new department chair that the adjunct faculty member hired
to teach it would not be returning. And since it is one of our two required courses for the
major, and it was too late to find a replacement, given many constraining circumstances, I
looked at this as an opportunity to come up with a methods course that the students would
both learn from and also appreciate the perspective offered from our discipline.
The objective of the course was to develop research design skills in the students
that would provide them with the ability to empower communities in their development
efforts, without positioning themselves as martyrs. While simultaneously working on
development efforts I stressed to the students that they would also be able to embark on
intriguing and transformational research and that this approach could serve them well in
working with diverse communities. Naturally I stressed to the students that this was
simply one approach to research design, not the only approach. On the syllabus I stated,
“While the primary objective of this course is to focus on approaches and methods rather
than on a specific content area, we will use the Indianapolis community to explore
varying research possibilities.” What area of the Indianapolis community they decided to
focus on was left up to them, however I did introduce them to the Mayor’s Neighborhood
Action Center so that they could understand how the city determined neighborhood
boundaries. Additionally they were made aware of the specific designees from the
Mayor’s office responsible for facilitating neighborhood development as possible contact
persons.
The course began by asking the students to write a political values paper
articulating generally what they thought about ideal community structure and how they
feel their political values might influence the manner in which they approach the research
process. I offered to the student that as this course would involve looking at
neighborhoods/communities from a research standpoint in which we determine how one
would develop appropriate methodology that addresses particular issues it is important to
2


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