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Community-Based Action Research: Theory and Inquiry Methods for Community Educators

This course, with its central focus on community-based action research, is designed for educators in social agencies, afterschool, and other out-of-school and informal learning initiatives. The central aim is to deepen and extend participants' understanding of their own and others' worksites as they jointly seek ways to improve community-education practices. Inquiry projects conducted over time in these educators' community sites will be discussed in class, affording shared opportunities to learn from and with one another in the broader terrain of out-of-school learning. Drawing on multiple data sources and ongoing analysis at their worksites, critical readings, class discussions, relevant videos, and exchanges with guest speakers, participants will discover new ways to improve and sustain community program offerings and outcomes. Emphasizing a guided use of anthropological methods, this course will afford participants new tools and strategies for program inquiry, assessment, and improvement. An introduction to participatory action research and a qualitative approach to program evaluation will be included in the course.