2013-14 Catalog

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Offering Description

Community-Based Research: Social and Environmental Justice


Winter 2014 and Spring 2014 quarters

Lin Nelson sociology
Fields of Study
community studies, environmental studies and sustainability studies
Preparatory for studies or careers in
community organization, community advocacy, public policy, social science, public health and environmental studies.

This program is an exploration of how to do Community-Based Research (CBR) and develop meaningful documentation in relation to community needs and challenges. Our focus will be on the social and environmental justice issues that are part of community life and that become the focus of the work of community-based organizations and social movements. A key feature of this two-quarter program will be grounded approaches with community groups. We’ll be working actively with Evergreen’s Center for Community-Based Learning and Action (CCBLA) to learn about the pressing needs in our region and to shape and sharpen our research skills and approaches. Some of the groups we will likely connect with include Parents Organized for Welfare and Economic Rights (POWER), People for Puget Sound (on environment and sustainability), Fertile Ground (community sustainability), Garden-Raised Bounty (community agriculture and food justice), Stonewall Youth (on the rights of youth and the LGBTQ community) and Teen Council of Planned Parenthood, among others.

Central to our work, especially in winter quarter, will be an examination of the history, philosophy, debates and strategic modes of CBR—which is also called “participatory research,” “popular education” and “action research.” Readings and resources will draw from academics who work with communities in initiating or supporting research; at the same time, we’ll learn from community organizations about research they launch and how they work with faculty, staff and students in colleges and universities. CBR as a social movement in the U.S. and internationally will be the grounding for our efforts. Our reading will be drawn from the growing literature on CBR: key ideas and frameworks, cross-cultural and cross-national approaches, methods and skills, and vivid case material. We will sustain a persistent examination of ethics, community rights and co-learning and collaboration. Winter quarter will focus on exploring the literature and resources, learning with area organizations, posing and launching projects. Spring quarter will shift to more of a community base, with substantial fieldwork, community documentation and participation, project review and planning for future applications.

Some important skills that will be developed include project design and development, interviewing and questionnaire design, researching public/government documents, participant-observation and creative approaches to documentation and presentation. We’ll be working to link our projects with compelling social, political and ecological issues and to place our work in regional to international contexts. There will be a strong focus on “give back” to the community and working with and contributing to the resource base of the CCBLA. Students will come away from the program with ideas, experiences and skills that should be helpful to them if they’re interested in future work in social justice, community organizing, environmental protection and environmental justice, public health, fieldwork, social analysis and documentation.

Schedule and Location
Online Learning
No Required Online Learning
Greener Store
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
January 28th, 2014 This program is not accepting new enrollment spring quarter.