Using Qualitative Community Research
Pp. 92-103 (12)
This chapter describes a practical suggestion for a possible CBPR project and presents
thematic findings from a 2010 spring semester pilot project. Collaborative development of a proposed
prototype community DVD tour can incorporate core QCR features. These include clear objectives,
perceived beneficial outcomes, a feasible work plan, realistic timelines, appropriate evaluation and
alignment of institutional interests with community research. Linking conceptualization with QCR
design and methodology is essential. The process is guided by a theoretical framework. This helps
resolve problematic matters such as handling discourse, integrating mixed method approaches,
understanding empirical descriptions and making meaning from information. The pilot project’s
objectives were to obtain perceptions of community and university persons about the university’s
service and leadership contributions to the Pleasant Plains community in Washington, DC. Students
collected and analyzed information through fieldwork, visual documentation, literature reviews,
conversations, interviews and participant observations. The following were among the results: Barriers
to trust and achieving effective outcomes include insufficient information and misperception;
Consistent university institutional involvement is needed; Connecting the university and neighboring
community is aided by structured student service-learning and recognition for faculty communityservice;
Regularizing institutional engagement and dialogue promotes university-community research.
Qualitative research involves problem solving, metacognition and evaluation. Constructing knowledge
and developing meanings from what students learn requires reflection. Thinking about using QCR and
reflecting about what is being learned -- along with why and how -- are metacognitive skills that
improve coherent results and assist evaluation. A multi-disciplinary curriculum of measurable
objectives and activities also assists reflection and metacognition.
Proposed Community DVD Tour, Applicability to Universities and Communities, QCR
Design and Methodology, Problem-solving, Evaluation.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Howard University, Washington, D.C.